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Giants try to stop the bleeding in LA

It appears to be an unsuccessful defense for the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants, as nothing short of a miracle would get this ballclub back into postseason contention.

The Giants are in a huge hole in the National League West standings, with a 9 1/2-game deficit behind Arizona, and will try to salvage the finale of a three-game series versus the rival Los Angeles Dodgers this afternoon from AT&T Park.

Ryan Vogelsong did not receive any support in Saturday's 3-0 loss in the middle portion of this series and allowed all three runs and nine hits in eight innings. Brett Pill had one of the team's five hits with a double for the Giants, who have lost three straight and eight of 12 games. The Giants have 17 games left to make up some ground and will need to step up the hitting in order to do so.

"We were really bad with the bat tonight," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were awful."

Bochy's club is only 2 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles for second in the NL West, and is expected to activate left-hander Barry Zito from the disabled list. Zito has been out since Aug. 1 with a sprained right foot and is 3-4 with a 5.62 ERA in nine starts.

The Giants will hand the ball to Madison Bumgarner today and he has won three straight and four of his last six starts. Bumgarner has allowed a total of three runs during his current unbeaten streak and held the Padres to a pair of runs and seven hits over 8 1/3 innings during Monday's 7-2 win at Petco Park.

Bumgarner improved to 10-12 in 29 starts on the season and lowered his earned run average to 3.37. He defeated the Dodgers the last time he faced them on July 19 at AT&T Park and is 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in five career games (4 starts) in this matchup.

The lefty is 6-6 in 15 home starts this season.

Los Angeles is going for the sweep today and has won 15 of its last 18 games. Dana Eveland threw seven shutout innings and both Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Guerra got his 18th save in the process.

"We've been playing well lately," Guerra said. "We're going to try to keep it up."

Juan Rivera had three hits and an RBI and Jerry Sands drove in a run for the Dodgers, who evened their mark at 72-72. LA is 7-2 on a rain-shortened 10-game road trip.

Hiroki Kuroda's personal winning streak was stopped in its tracks the last time he took the hill and the Dodgers' right-hander will try to start a new run this afternoon. Kuroda had won four straight and five of six starts until a 7-2 loss at Washington on Monday.

Kuroda was charged with five runs and eight hits, including four homers, in six innings to fall to 11-15 with a 3.18 ERA in 28 starts. The Japanese righty, who is 7-6 in 13 road starts, beat the Giants in his season debut on April 3 with seven innings of three-run ball in a 7-5 triumph. Kuroda is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in eight career starts against San Francisco.

These two NL West foes have beaten each other seven times this season. The Dodgers have won three in a row in this series after losing six straight.