LOS ANGELES -- Angel Pagan surveyed the cramped visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, one full of arms, bats and gloves that have the Giants streaking along atop the division. It was a group ready to go home after a 10-game trip, but after a thrilling 7-4, 10-inning win over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, Pagan allowed himself to briefly look to the past.

"This is how we did it a couple of years ago," he said, smiling.

The electrifying leadoff man is not shying away from expectations. It's World Series Or Bust, and Sunday, and throughout a testing three-city trip and the season's first 38 games, the Giants very much have had the look of a team that has no intention of doing the latter. At 24-14, they're tied for the best record in the National League. The latest victory came on a day when manager Bruce Bochy rested regulars and threw out the emergency "bomb squad" lineup; when the Giants faced Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in baseball; and when they watched All-Star closer Sergio Romo blow a save for the first time this season.

None of that mattered. With stellar defense and timely hitting, the Giants found a way to clinch a 7-3 trip against three teams -- the Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates -- that played in the postseason a year ago.

"To go 7-3, I can't say it surprised me," Bochy said. "I think they're that good out there."

It's a feeling that flows through the clubhouse, from franchise players to newcomers to rookies. All contributed Sunday in the Giants' seventh win in 10 tries against the Dodgers this season.

The day didn't set up well for the Giants. Brandon Belt is back in San Francisco, preparing for a surgical procedure that will insert two pins in his broken thumb and sideline him for six weeks, and with the Giants in the midst of a 17-game stretch without a break, Bochy opted not to start Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford. The result was a lineup in which the final six hitters were batting under .200, including Pablo Sandoval, slated for cleanup duty despite a .173 average. Bochy simply had no other options.

"He was pretty excited with where he hit today," Bochy said. "He asked me how much I had to drink last night."

Before the home fans could find their own suds, Sandoval gave the Giants a 1-0 lead with an RBI double off Kershaw, who entered with a 1.38 ERA in 22 games against the Giants. Tim Hudson hung with the reigning Cy Young Award winner, carrying the lead into the sixth. Yasiel Puig tied the game with a solo homer, and Adrian Gonzalez put the home team ahead with an RBI single, but Pagan halted the rally with a perfect strike home on Justin Turner's single to nail Gonzalez, who look certain to score on the hit.

A surprise contributor put the Giants back ahead in the seventh. Brandon Hicks announced his presence this spring with a two-run shot off Kershaw in an exhibition game March 9, and two months later the former nonroster invitee is the everyday second baseman. He jumped on an 0-2 hanging curveball from Kershaw, crushing his seventh homer of the season.

Hicks has started 27 games in place of the injured Marco Scutaro, but he said he still checks the lineup card every day to see if he's playing. He might not need to anymore. Bochy loves the power-hitting second baseman, telling him not to worry about his strikeouts and low average and just focus on playing solid defense and getting big hits.

"It's a really good feeling," Hicks said.

The Giants were riding high into the ninth with a 4-2 lead, but Romo hung a slider to Hanley Ramirez with two outs and a runner on and the game was tied in an instant. Just as quickly, the Giants were back on top.

Two walks and a single off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen loaded the bases in the 10th, and Sandoval drove the go-ahead hit past a drawn-in infield. The third baseman had his first three-hit game of the season and drove in his first runs since April 16. In the victorious clubhouse, teammates hoped Sandoval's big day would allow him to relax, forget about the pressure that comes with the final year of a contract and return to being a force in the heart of the lineup.

"You know there's a great player in there," Hudson said. "To get back to being a great player, it's between the ears. He just needs to get a little confidence going."

The Giants tacked on two more runs and headed home after Jean Machi picked up his first career save. The come-from-behind win was their 10th of the season and clinched a fifth straight series win over the Dodgers, a popular preseason pick to win it all.

"We never stopped fighting," Pagan said. "Even when we trail we keep fighting and we don't give up. That's the attitude of this team. I love it."

For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic.

MONDAY'S GAME
Atlanta (Gavin Floyd 0-0) at Giants (Tim Lincecum 2-2), 7:15 p.m. CSNBA

INSIDE
A look at how the Giants have amassed a 7-3 record against the Dodgers. PAGE 3