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Dodgers shoot for fourth straight win in middle tilt with Giants

The Los Angeles Dodgers didn't have much luck against the San Francisco Giants earlier this season, long before phenom Yasiel Puig joined the club.

Puig needed only one game to make an impact in this rivalry.

The 22-year-old will try to lead the Dodgers to another victory on Tuesday night in the continuation of a three-game set with the Giants.

Los Angeles snapped a five-game slide in this series with last night's 3-1 victory, one in which Puig collected three hits to lift his average to .442 through 20 games since making his debut on June 3. He has 12 multi-hit games already and hit his seventh homer of the season on Monday prior to driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth frame.

"Puig is a phenomenal hitter," said L.A. catcher A.J. Ellis. "It's amazing how he handles the ball away. I'm happy he's on our side."

The Dodgers matched a season high with their third straight win, having first done so from April 5-7.

The Giants, meanwhile, had won 11 of their previous 15 versus the Dodgers, but lost for the seventh time in their past 10 contests overall. That has dropped the club to the .500 mark (38-38) for the first time since April 7.

Madison Bumgarner pitched into the eighth inning for San Francisco, but was yanked after allowing the first two batters to reach in the frame. He was charged with all three runs -- two earned -- on five hits.

Pablo Sandoval made his return from the disabled list and went 2-for-4 in the setback, but shortstop Joaquin Arias had to come out of the game in the second inning after straining his left hamstring scoring San Francisco's lone run of the game.

That came after the Giants had announced Angel Pagan will miss the next 10- to-12 weeks because of upcoming surgery on his injured hamstring, while starter Chad Gaudin landed on the disabled list due to an injured elbow.

"This was buzzard's luck in a game like this," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "When you're in a rut, everything that could go wrong does go wrong. We had good at-bats, we just couldn't get the big hit to break it open."

Things seem to be going Los Angeles' way though. Matt Kemp could return as soon as tonight from a strained right hamstring that has sidelined him since May 30. Both he and Scott Van Slyke (left shoulder) played in their third rehab game with Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday and Van Slyke could return to the Dodgers as soon as Wednesday.

Gaudin, meanwhile, was scheduled to start this contest for the Giants, but his bruised right elbow changed those plans. He suffered the injury when he took a line drive off the elbow in his start last Thursday versus Miami.

Taking his place tonight will be 24-year-old Mike Kickham, recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Monday. He will make the second start of his career.

Kickham made his MLB debut on May 28 in Oakland, replacing the injured Ryan Vogelsong, whose spot eventually went to Gaudin. That's because the left- handed Kickham was tagged for four runs on four hits and four walks over 2 1/3 frames in a loss to the A's. He was sent back to Fresno, where he has gone 3-5 this season with a 4.81 earned run average in 14 starts this year.

Countering for the Dodgers is Stephen Fife, who will make his sixth start of the 2013 campaign.

Fife's first appearance came back on April 21, when he allowed four runs over 4 2/3 frames in a no-decision at Baltimore. He did not pitch again with the Dodgers until June 3 and has not allowed more than two earned runs in four straight starts.

However, Los Angeles is just 1-3 in that span and Fife avoided a third straight losing start on Thursday with a no-decision in San Diego. The right- hander yielded two runs -- one earned -- over six innings and is 1-2 on the season with a 3.25 ERA.

Fife, 26, faced the Dodgers once last season and did not get a decision after throwing 6 1/3 frames of one-run ball.