Giants anticipate Sandoval return for opener with Dodgers

The San Francisco Giants are coming off their first losing homestand since last August, but are scheduled to get a boost for their upcoming road trip.

Pablo Sandoval is expected to return to the lineup on Monday night when the Giants kick off a three-game series with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

After beginning a seven-game stay in San Francisco by taking two of three from the San Diego Padres, the Giants dropped three of four to the Miami Marlins, failing to earn a split of the set with Sunday's 7-2 loss.

Matt Cain allowed three runs over six innings to put the Giants in an early hole, though Hunter Pence hit a solo homer and Marco Scutaro also drove in a run to pull San Francisco to within a run later in the contest. However, any late-inning comeback ideas were dashed when Miami plated four runs in the top of the ninth inning.

It marked the Giants' first losing homestand since they went 3-7 during a residency from July 23-Aug. 2 of last year and they will now play 10 in a row on the road. San Francisco is just 14-22 as the visiting club this season.

"There's no excuses," said Pence. "You just have to keep playing."

San Francisco will now play with third baseman Sandoval back in the mix. He hit .289 with eight homers and 37 RBI in 57 games, but hasn't played since June 8 due to a strained tendon in his left foot.

"It certainly should do something for the club," Giants manager Bruce Bochy to his club's website. "We need a lift right now. He's a big presence in the lineup and hopefully it will keep guys from trying to do too much."

Madison Bumgarner has been giving San Francisco's pitching staff a lift and he aims for a fourth straight winning start tonight.

Bumgarner has logged consecutive seven-inning outings, striking out 18 in that span. He helped the Giants blank the Atlanta Braves 6-0 on June 14 and then held the Padres to a pair of runs on three hits in a 4-2 triumph on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old southpaw is 7-4 with a 3.25 earned run average in 15 starts this season and blanked the Dodgers over eight innings on April 2 to capture a win. Bumgarner scattered two hits and struck out six without a walk, retiring 18 in a row at one point and improving to 6-2 lifetime versus Los Angeles with a 2.53 ERA in nine meetings (8 starts).

Hyun-Jin Ryu took the loss for the Dodgers in that meeting with Bumgarner and looks to beat the Giants for the first time in three encounters tonight.

The 26-year-old was charged with only one earned run over 6 1/3 frames of that home loss in early April, but was tagged for four runs on eight hits and two walks over six frames of a setback in San Francisco on May 5.

Ryu has only one other loss this season, going 6-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 14 outings. He is winless in his past three outings, picking up a pair of no- decisions ahead of a 6-4 setback at the New York Yankees on Wednesday. The left-hander gave up three runs on five hits and a pair of walks over six frames, leaving him without a win since a two-hit shutout of the Los Angeles Angels on May 28.

Ryu will try to pitch the Dodgers to three straight wins for the first time since April 5-7 and the club won the final two meetings of a four-game set with the Padres this past weekend.

Los Angeles secured the split with Sunday's 3-1 win, getting ninth-inning homers from Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, who has 11 hits in his past 22 at-bats with three homers and seven RBI.

While the duo provided a late boost, it was starter Chris Capuano who supplied early heroics. Pitching on just three days' rest after starting one game of a doubleheader with the Yankees on Wednesday, Capuano held the Padres to four hits over five scoreless frames.

"He's been great," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "He saved us today from having to make a roster move and do all kinds of the stuff that you don't necessarily want to do."

The Giants have won five straight and 11 of their past 15 versus the Dodgers.