SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - As if the Dodgers needed one more thing to go wrong as they left the Bay Area, their equipment truck broke down on the freeway en route to the airport.
``We're excited to get home,' catcher A.J. Ellis said, ``it's been a long nine days.'
Scoreless in San Francisco.
Tim Lincecum won for the first time in nearly two months to end the worst drought of his career, and the Giants blanked the Dodgers for the third straight game in a 3-0 win Wednesday that moved them into a first-place tie atop the NL West with Los Angeles.
Manager Don Mattingly doesn't sugar coat the struggles, either.
``It's not too much fun watching the highlights lately,' he said while speaking hours before his team lost again.
Angel Pagan added an RBI single and drew a bases-loaded walk to back Lincecum (3-8) as the Giants earned just their second sweep of the season - and shut out the Dodgers in a three-game series for the first time in franchise history spanning the 123 seasons these clubs have played.
The banged-up Dodgers might have lost another key player in the process. Already missing All-Star Matt Kemp, second baseman Mark Ellis and lefty starter Ted Lilly, Andre Ethier was done after one at-bat because of a left oblique injury that could land him on the disabled list. He did it on a check swing.
``But getting shut out three days in a row hurts a lot more than this,' said Ethier, scheduled for an MRI exam Thursday.
The Dodgers were swept in the Bay Area for the second time in as many weeks after losing three straight at Oakland from June 19-21, scoring two total runs over the six games here.
``At this point, when you don't score runs in three straight games, it's hard to take any positives out of it,' Mattingly said.
Billingsley lost his third straight start, tagged for three runs on nine hits in six innings.
Lincecum struck out eight and walked two while outpitching Chad Billingsley (4-7). The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner ended a career-worst 10-start winless stretch in which he went 0-6 - also a career worst.
He followed shutouts by Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong.
``We're just not scoring runs. We ran into some good pitching and maybe we were pressing a little bit,' Dodgers second baseman Jerry Hairston said. ``Not hitting is also contagious, but that's going to happen over the course of a season. I don't care if you're the Yankees, every team will hit a skid like this.'
Lincecum got focused, and he just plain got mad about his poor pitching. This outstanding outing helped the Giants take a division lead for the first time since last Aug. 9. He won a day shy of two months after his last victory, April 28 against San Diego.
Lincecum struck out two in a 1-2-3 second, and calmly punched his pitching hand into his glove as he walked off the mound. He also had gone 0-4 in his previous six starts against the Dodgers since his last victory on July 30, 2010.
``To be able to sweep the Dodgers, throw three shutouts and be in the position we're in says a lot about us,' Lincecum said.
Melky Cabrera had an RBI double and Brandon Crawford tripled among his three hits in San Francisco's first three-game sweep of the Dodgers at AT&T Park since July 30-Aug. 1, 2010.
Pitching to cheers of ``Come on, Timmy!' Lincecum also made a run-saving play that drew a standing ovation in the third.
After Billingsley doubled off the wall in center for his sixth hit in 25 at_bats this season, he moved to third on a wild pitch. Lincecum threw another wild pitch that got past catcher Hector Sanchez and reached the backstop. The pitcher covered home, blocked the plate and tagged out Billingsley. His glove was knocked loose, but Lincecum held onto it and made the play with his left hand.
``It's funny how the ugly thing kind of worked out to a pretty cool thing,' Lincecum said. ``I didn't want him to get a run. I'm not much to go through but he was going to have to go through me to get to the plate.'
Lincecum allowed only one more baserunner past first. Sergio Romo recorded the final four outs for his fourth save in as many tries.
Lincecum, who settled down Friday at Oakland after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning and showed positive signs the next four, ran his scoreless innings streak to 12.
Manager Bruce Bochy visited Lincecum after a seventh-inning walk to Ellis put runners on first and second with one out, but drew cheers when Lincecum stayed in the game to retire the next two batters in order.
After Lincecum told Bochy ``Yeah' he was fine to stay in the game, he followed that up with a stronger ``Yes, sir.' It worked.
``I think he has returned to the Timmy of before,' said Sanchez, catching Lincecum for the second straight start.
Notes: Juan Uribe, 1 for 21 during the road trip, returned to the Los Angeles lineup and went 0 for 3. ... Dodgers 2B Mark Ellis will head on a rehab assignment Saturday to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga if his baserunning goes well Thursday. He's likely to play four or five games and get 20 at_bats. ``I'm anxious,' Ellis said. ``I don't think I've ever gotten a hit in a rehab game. You just want to get back with the team.'... Wednesday marked the 32nd anniversary of Jerry Reuss' no-hitter for the Dodgers against the Giants at Candlestick Park. ... LHP Chris Capuano (9-2) pitches for the Dodgers on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series with the New York Mets, who will throw R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana, respectively, in the Friday-Saturday games.
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