The Dodgers-Giants rivalry has swung like a pendulum over the decades. At times, they have been evenly matched, and those years have created memorable mano-a-mano fights for a pennant or division title. Other times, one team has held sway over the other.

A three-year stretch of San Francisco superiority in the National League West appears to be waning, along with the Giants' ability to win games, or even score runs.

After sweeping the Giants in Chavez Ravine in late June, a Dodgers team loaded with talent and swagger ended a series win at AT&T Park on Sunday with one devastating swing and a 4-1 victory.

A.J. Ellis hit a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning against Sergio Romo to break a 1-1 tie and send the Giants to their 16th defeat in the past 21 games.

The Giants ended their second consecutive week with one victory. If this were the NFL, they would be in fat city. Instead, they again left the ballpark searching for answers that are not there.

"We're definitely not playing up to our capabilities," Buster Posey said.

Question is, what are the Giants' capabilities?

Pitching? There they have improved, and Chad Gaudin provided a huge boost in his return from the disabled list with seven solid innings that allowed the Giants to stay even with L.A. and their tormenter, Clayton Kershaw.

Gaudin allowed one run. He also struck out nine for the first time since a 2009 game for San Diego. The rotation still struggles for its hallmark consistency but is not the principal culprit.

The same offense that won a World Series in 2012, minus Angel Pagan, has scored two or fewer runs in 12 of the past 16 games. So many key hitters are slumping that it's hard to see an avenue for the Giants to stop this slide short of pitching nightly shutouts.