LOS ANGELES (AP) - The core of the San Francisco Giants' lineup is still championship caliber, as it demonstrated against Ricky Nolasco and the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen.
Hunter Pence's grand slam and career-high seven RBIs helped the Giants romp past Los Angeles 19-3 Saturday night, the most runs ever scored by a Dodgers opponent at Chavez Ravine.
Brandon Belt also homered and set career highs with five hits and six RBIs during the Giants' 22-hit attack.
``It's good to have a game like this occasionally. That's something we don't do very often,' manager Bruce Bochy said.
``Brandon has been a different hitter since making some adjustments, and we know how good Hunter is. It's important to have those core guys in the middle of your lineup like that,' he said.
The Giants posted their highest-scoring game since a 23-8 rout at Atlanta on June 8, 1990. It was the biggest run total against the Dodgers since the Cubs beat them 20-1 at Wrigley Field on May 5, 2001.
The last time the Dodgers gave up 19 runs at home was on Sept. 12, 1961, when Philadelphia won 19-10 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a game started by none other than Sandy Koufax. Dodger Stadium opened the next season.
``Any time something significant like that happens, it's something to be grateful for and something to be humbled by,' said Pence, who has 16 RBIs in his last five games and a team-high 89 for the season.
``It's a good feeling, but we've got to remember it's just one win. We had a lot of good at_bats and a lot of good swings. It was a special night for a lot of our young guys, to get in there and swing the bats really well off of some good pitchers,' he said.
Tim Lincecum (10-13) won his fourth consecutive decision. The two-time NL Cy Young winner allowed three runs and five hits over six innings and struck out six. It's the first time he has won more than three straight decisions since a five-game string in early 2010.
Pinch-hitter Alex Castellanos, recalled by the Dodgers from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier in the day, homered on the first pitch he saw in the fifth. Two pitches later, Lincecum plunked rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, drawing lusty boos from the sellout crowd of 53,062. Puig ended up scoring on Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single.
``You never want to see a ball go at some guy's head, even if you're trying to pitch there,' said Lincecum, who has hit five batters in his 30 starts. ``I wasn't really trying to pitch there, so that's kind of what made it scary. I was just gesturing to make sure he knew that I wasn't intentionally doing it.'
Nolasco (13-10) was charged with seven runs on seven hits and three walks in 1 1-3 innings. Errors by third baseman Juan Uribe and Puig in center field hurt him, too.
``Things like this happen. If this was happening regular I'd maybe say I had some concerns,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``But as good as Ricky's been pitching - and he has one bad outing - I can't say I'm really concerned. They had his number, but anybody we sent out there ... it was just one of those nights.'
The Giants got their first seven batters on base and scored three times in the first, including RBI singles by Belt and Pence. Lincecum got to bat before he ever threw a pitch, grounding out after a bases-loaded walk to Brandon Crawford.
``We got some great at_bats early against Nolasco,' Bochy said. ``They weren't trying to do too much, and occasionally you get a pitcher that's off. He wasn't at the top of his game tonight, and it's always nice to get those early runs.'
Pence hit a two-run single in a four-run second and added his fourth career slam in the fifth, connecting exactly one year after his previous one. It was his 23rd homer this season and gave the Giants a 12-1 cushion. Until then, the Giants were the only team in the majors without a grand slam.
``A big part of the reason I was able to have that much success tonight was because of runners being on,' Pence said. ``With the bases loaded and a 2-0 count, that kind of pigeonholes the pitcher into throwing a heater and me being able to cheat a little more off the heater.'
The Giants scored two more in the seventh and added three runs in the eighth. San Francisco tacked on two more in the ninth before Dodgers reliever Brandon League retired pinch-hitter Tony Abreu on a bases-loaded, double-play grounder.
``This was one of those games. We've probably had four or five of them all year,' Mattingly said. ``I think it's probably a lot easier to write one of these off than it is to blow a two-run lead in the ninth, a game you really should have won. We really didn't have a chance to win this game.'
The Dodgers' magic number for clinching the NL West remained at four.
NOTES: Pence is the only player to start in all 149 games for San Francisco. The last player to appear in all 162 games for the Giants was 1B Will Clark (1988), who was used five times as a pinch-hitter that season. ... Lincecum also singled twice and scored two runs. ... Lincecum is 9-6 with a 2.95 ERA in 21 career starts against the Dodgers. Four of the losses have come against Clayton Kershaw. ... The only drama left in the NL West is the battle to avoid last place, with the Giants, Padres and Rockies all tied. The only team to finish last a year after winning a World Series was the 1998 Marlins. ... Lincecum needs two more strikeouts to become the seventh pitcher in Giants history with at least 1,500. ... The Giants have won the last five games Lincecum has started, after losing 14 of the previous 17 games he pitched.
The Associated Press News Service
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