Giants send Lincecum to hill face Kershaw and the Dodgers

The San Francisco Giants have hit desperate times and game series at AT&T Park.

The Giants are 7 1/2 games behind Arizona for first place in the National League West Division and failed in their bid for a three-game sweep of San Diego with Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Petco Park. Matt Cain got the start for the Giants and pitched well in defeat, allowing two runs and four hits in seven innings of work.

Brett Pill was the lone bright spot for the offense and finished 2-for-4 with a home run for the defending World Series champions, who have lost six of their last 10 games.

"[Cain] did a great job. ... We just couldn't get any runs for him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Tim Lincecum will take the ball for Bochy's club tonight and the right-hander has lost two straight and three of four starts, including Saturday's 7-2 loss versus the Diamondbacks in which he was tabbed for five runs and nine hits in five innings. Lincecum has allowed nine runs over his last two starts and is 12-12 with a 2.75 ERA in 29 outings this season.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner lost to the Dodgers on July 20 this season and is 5-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) lifetime against Los Angeles. Lincecum is 5-7 at AT&T Park this season.

San Francisco will also host the Padres for three games on this homestand.

Meanwhile, Kershaw is aiming for his 18th win of the season and is 4-0 in his last five starts. He did not record a decision in Sunday's 4-3 loss at Atlanta and allowed three runs -- two earned -- in seven innings of work with 10 strikeouts. Kershaw, who is 9-1 in his last 10 decisions, is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in four starts against San Francisco this season. In 10 career meetings (9 starts) with the Giants, the lefty owns a 4-1 mark with a 1.41 ERA.

The Dodgers won two of three matchups in Washington and was supposed to play a doubleheader Thursday, but the nightcap was rained out. According to a statement released by Washington, the game will only be played by the end of the season if necessary.

Los Angeles won the opener by a 7-4 score thanks to four hits from Dee Gordon and four RBI by Juan Rivera. Mike MacDougal earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief and Javy Guerra registered his 16th save in the ninth. Chad Billingsley got the start and allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings of work.

"Every guy that gets their name called out of the bullpen has been putting up some good innings," Billingsley said. "They kept the game right there and we had good at-bats in the ninth inning and Tony came up with the big hit."

Prior to the game, the Dodgers announced they were shutting down outfielder Andre Ethier for the remainder of the season due to a persistent knee problem.

The Dodgers have won 13 of their last 16 games.

San Francisco has beaten Los Angeles seven times in 12 meetings this season, while the Dodgers ended a six-game losing streak in this series with a 1-0 win on July 20 at AT&T Park.