LOS ANGELES -- For the third straight game against the Giants, the Dodgers found themselves trailing before even taking a turn at the plate. And for the third straight game, the early runs provided a lead San Francisco would never relinquish as it defeated Los Angeles, this time 8-4, to move 2 1/2 games up in the National League West on Wednesday.
The series sweep was the second of the season by the Giants and payback for the Dodgers doing the deed at AT&T Park less than a month ago. The last time Los Angeles was swept at Dodger Stadium by the Giants was in April 2007.
The news following the game only made matters worse. It was revealed Jerry Hairston will need season-ending hip surgery, while reliever Blake Hawksworth had his own surgery on his shoulder earlier in the day that will keep him out for the next year.
Even worse news could be the news that Andre Ethier has been dealing with a blister that popped on his right hand Sunday.
He finished 2-for-4 and with a sixth-inning double became the first Dodgers player to finish with at least 30 two-baggers in six straight years, but manager Don Mattingly expects the slugger to be forced to deal with the nagging pain on his right hand that he doesn't think is going away anytime soon.
While it is still to be seen how much the popped blister will affect one of the Dodgers' most important hitters, if it does at all, the story Wednesday was the third straight loss to the rival Giants, who got to Chris Capuano early with three runs in the first. Yet again, the Dodgers didn't get the job done when opportunities came up.
"It was one of those series for us that just didn't seem like anything really wanted to go our way," Mattingly said. "I think they get one in the first the first game. Two in the first the second game and three in the first tonight. They kind of got us on the ropes instantly. You don't want to give Matt Cain a three-run lead the way he throws the baseball."
Like he did Monday and Tuesday, Angel Pagan got things going Wednesday to get the Giants on the board quickly.
This time, he did it with a leadoff double, which was followed by Marco Scutaro's single that moved Pagan to third. A Pablo Sandoval sacrifice fly put the Giants on the board, and a two-run homer by shortstop Joaquin Arias two batters later dug the Dodgers into an early 3-0 hole.
"We came in here with the mindset that we needed to win this series," Sandoval said. "We're focused. ... We need to keep winning games. There are a lot of games in one more month so we have to keep fighting."
Capuano was charged with three more runs in the sixth when he gave up three straight hits to Pagan, Scutaro and Sandoval.
An RBI single by Sandoval chased the lefty and the other two runs scored on a double by Arias and a bases-loaded walk to Justin Christian with Shawn Tolleson on the mound.
The veteran lefty fell to 11-9 on the season after giving up five runs on six hits while pitching into the sixth. He looked good in four innings, but struggled mightily in two.
"Tonight was like alpha and the omega," Capuano said. "Innings two through five were great. We were attacking the zone and getting quick outs. The first and last inning, I made some mistakes in the middle of the plate. These guys made me pay tonight."
The Dodgers had opportunities to climb back in the game, but stranded runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth before plating a run in the sixth. Cain carried over where Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum left off and allowed just one run in seven innings.
That one run came when Ethier connected on a two-out double to right and scored on a Hanley Ramirez single.
The Dodgers picked up another three in the eighth thanks to an RBI double by Matt Kemp and a two-run single by Luis Cruz. But by then, Los Angeles had dug itself into too big of a hole.
"It was a surprising series for me, really," Mattingly said. "I felt like coming off the road we'd play well. Not that we played badly; we just didn't do enough to win."
If there was any good to be taken out of the game, it was the return of Rubby De La Rosa, back from Tommy John surgery last August. The hard-throwing righty made his 2012 debut in the seventh.
He was shaky, walking two batters that eventually scored, but his fastball hit 96 mph and he said he felt comfortable on the mound.
"He was OK, a little rough," Mattingly said. "We didn't really know what to expect after a year with Tommy John and it being [his] first time back in the big leagues. ... We get his feet wet and we'll see what he looks like."
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.