It took 2 1/2 months, but the 2013 Dodgers lineup is finally starting to resemble the one many had put on paper before the season began.
Tuesday marked the first time Los Angeles had Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez all in the same starting nine. The result? A fourth straight win marking the club's longest streak of the year.
The Dodgers aim to extend that run to five Wednesday, as they go for a sweep of the archrival Giants, who now sit below .500 for the first time since Opening Day. Two former Cy Young Award winners -- familiar foes Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum -- will take the mound at Dodger Stadium.
Lincecum (4-7, 4.52 ERA) struck out eight Marlins and allowed just three runs in seven innings in his last time out -- marking the third time in his previous four outings that he notched a quality start.
The Giants right-hander has faced Los Angeles only once this season, and he was sharp, tossing five innings and allowing just two unearned runs in an Opening Week victory. In 20 career outings against the Dodgers, Lincecum is 8-5 with a 2.69 ERA.
Kershaw, meanwhile, is riding a perplexing winless streak that dates back to May 20. He's been arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball this season, but has gotten hardly any run support, as the Dodgers have scored just nine times in his five losses.
Nine times this season, Kershaw (5-5, 2.06) has allowed one earned run or fewer, yet he's only received a win in five of those starts.
But Kershaw hasn't had the benefit of a healthy and thriving Dodgers lineup as he appears to now. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez has hit safely in his last eight games, batting .467 with four homers and 10 RBIs during that time.
"It's getting there," said Kemp, who returned from the DL on Tuesday. "We've got just about everybody in the lineup. Hopefully we can all get on the same page and feed off each other.
"Hanley is swinging the bat really good. Puig is doing an unbelievable job. I'm just trying to come in here and do whatever I can to help them win games."
Giants: Gaudin on the mend
Right-hander Chad Gaudin hopes to return from the disabled list (bruised throwing elbow) on July 6 in a series also against the Dodgers.
"I feel better every day," said Gaudin, who is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA.
• Right-hander Nick Vander Tuig, whom the Giants selected in the sixth round of the Draft earlier this month, tossed eight shutout innings and picked up the victory Tuesday night as UCLA clinched its first College World Series title.
Dodgers: Kemp returns
In his first game since returning from a hamstring injury Tuesday, Kemp went 1-for-4 and made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch to seal the victory in the ninth inning.
It was Kemp's first start since the end of May, and in his first 51 games this season, he had mustered just 12 extra-base hits, while striking out 60 times.
• In 38 career at-bats against Kershaw -- the third-most among active players, Giants catcher Buster Posey is hitting just .184 with two doubles and 10 strikeouts. Second baseman Marco Scutaro is the only Giants hitter with a history of success against the Dodgers ace. He is 6-for-17 with a triple.
• Since 2000, the Dodgers hold a 122-120 edge over the Giants. The two clubs have won 60 games apiece in San Francisco and had won 60 apiece in Los Angeles before the Dodgers' two victories this week.
• Hunter Pence has now hit safely in seven consecutive games against the Dodgers, and he is hitting .388 against Los Angeles this season.