SAN FRANCISCO -- It's hard to make too big of a statement in May, but the Giants certainly sent a not-so-subtle message to their longtime rivals this weekend at AT&T Park.
Sunday night's nationally televised 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a sweep at AT&T Park, a sixth straight win overall and fifth straight over baseball's biggest spenders.
At the moment, the two favorites in the National League West are ships headed in opposite directions. The Dodgers walked -- and some hobbled -- out of AT&T Park in fourth place, 5½ games behind the defending champions. Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez was placed on the disabled list this weekend with a hamstring strain, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was scratched from the starting lineup in all three games because of neck pain.
The Giants regained sole possession of first place for the first time since the middle of April and got a boost from Matt Cain, who had his longest outing of the season to assuage some of the fears caused by his rough opening month.
Through the first five weeks of the season, the Giants already have sweeps of every other team in the division.
"We're doing a lot of good things," manager Bruce Bochy said. "As usual, our boys are entertaining. They made it close again."
Even with Cain cruising through the first seven innings, the Giants couldn't avoid another nail-biter on the heels of back-to-back walk-off wins. The Giants got their early production courtesy of Hunter Pence, who drove in four runs on a fielder's choice and two doubles. Marco Scutaro scored the first two runs, and Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey scored when Pence lined a two-out double off the right-field bricks in the fifth inning.
"I've had a lot of opportunities with runners on base," Pence said. "It's been a lot of fun hitting behind those guys. The lineup is really starting to unfold the way it is supposed to."
Trailing 4-0, the Dodgers battled back in the eighth. Gonzalez came off the bench for a two-run single, and Dee Gordon's infield hit scored a third run. The Giants used five pitchers in the inning, and the final one, Jean Machi, got a ground out from Jerry Hairston Jr. to end the threat. Sergio Romo set the Dodgers down in the ninth, clinching another narrow win.
"It literally feels like it has been three weeks of one-run games, win or lose," Pence said, smiling.
Pence wasn't too far off with the math. Since their last day in first place, April 15, the Giants have played 18 games, 10 of which were decided by one run. Only three of the 18 games had a final score separated by more than two runs.
Until Cain joined the handshake line Sunday, the starting staff had just two victories over the stretch. Cain entered the night with a 6.49 ERA but gave up just one run over 71/3 innings for his first win. In two starts against the Dodgers this season, Cain has given up one run in 131/3 innings.
"I wasn't making as many mistakes," Cain said. "And even the mistakes it happened to be that they were hit right at guys."
The six-game winning streak comes on the heels of a five-game skid. In the clubhouse Sunday, it was almost hard to tell which kind of run the Giants were currently on.
"With us you're going to see a team that's not going to get too high or too low," Pence said. "That's what I see as the biggest positive of this."
"He's not going to be out there if this thing is bothering him at all," Bochy said. "We're not going to risk that."
Pagan felt a twinge when he came rushing forward on Matt Kemp's single in the fifth inning Saturday night.
A day later, Pagan felt much better and said he would be aggressive with treatment.
"I'm very optimistic," he said. "It's not really bad."