The Los Angeles Dodgers may be anticipating a pair of key series that could be vital to them gaining ground in the postseason chase.
They'll also be wary of avoiding another letdown against the San Diego Padres .
With a key visit to San Francisco looming this weekend, the Dodgers will try to get back on track and keep from dropping a second straight meeting with the Padres on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles (73-64) trails the NL West-leading Giants by 4 1/2 games, and is 1 1/2 back of St. Louis for the league's second wild-card position.
The Dodgers open a three-game set at San Francisco on Friday, and host the Cardinals for four contests the following weekend.
Until then, they'll try to rebound from Tuesday's 6-3, 11-inning loss to San Diego (63-74) after opening this three-game set with a 4-3 win in 11 a day earlier.
"It's definitely frustrating to lose like that," said Clayton Kershaw , who allowed one run in seven innings. "But at the same time, we've been playing well. Every game has been close, and you've just got to keep grinding. It's September. It's put up or shut up. We've got to win games no matter what."
Production from Adrian Gonzalez certainly helps, and the first baseman is 5 for 13 with three doubles and three RBIs in his last three games. That's a dramatic improvement after he hit .182 over his first eight contests since being acquired from Boston last month.
Gonzalez is 11 for 22 with six RBIs in five meetings with his former team. He's also 3 for 3 versus Clayton Richard .
Richard (12-12, 3.74 ERA) has a 2.42 ERA while winning five of his past six starts, including three in a row. The left-hander has reached the seventh inning in six straight outings, including Friday's 5-4 win at Colorado. He was lifted with one out in the seventh after allowing three runs and two homers.
"The last few months (he's) just keeping the ball down," manager Bud Black said. "Pitchers are always evolving and Clayton isn't one to stand still. Early in his career he was a high fastball pitcher. Now we've seen a lot of ground-ball outs on pitches down in the zone."
Richard is 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 11 starts against the Dodgers, but he's 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in his last three at Chavez Ravine. He did his part in the most recent outing there July 13, allowing two runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-1 defeat.
Logan Forsythe , who is hitting .440 with five RBIs in his last seven games, is 7 for 19 on the road against the Dodgers this season. He came up big Tuesday, connecting for a go-ahead, two-run single in the 11th.
The Dodgers will give the ball to Aaron Harang (9-8, 3.76), who hasn't won at home since July 4. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.04 ERA in five starts since, and all have resulted in Dodgers losses.
That stretch started with a loss to San Diego on July 14, when Harang allowed four runs in seven innings while two of the four hits he surrendered left the park.
He's 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in four starts against the Padres this season after leading them with 14 victories last year.
Harang gave up three runs and five hits in five innings of Friday's 4-3, 11-inning loss to Arizona.
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||4||.250||1||0||1||0||1||.250||.500||.250|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||7||.000||0||0||1||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|San Diego Padres|
|August 23, 2012||Jason Marquis||15-Day DL||Fractured left wrist|
|August 17, 2012||Nick Hundley||Day-to-Day||Bruised right knee|
|August 16, 2012||Nick Hundley||60-Day DL||Bruised right knee|
|August 11, 2012||Huston Street||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|July 31, 2012||Yasmani Grandal||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|July 31, 2012||Yasmani Grandal||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|September 03, 2012||Javy Guerra||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|September 02, 2012||Chris Withrow||60-Day DL||Recovery from torn pectoral muscle|
|September 01, 2012||Alfredo Silverio||60-Day DL||Recovery from auto accident, concussion|
|August 28, 2012||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee contusion|
|August 28, 2012||Scott Elbert||15-Day DL||Left elbow inflammation|
|August 25, 2012||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Strained hip and back|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Cameron Maybin stole a win from the Los Angeles Dodgers and gave the San Diego Padres a series victory over their NL West rivals.
Maybin robbed Matt Kemp of a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning after Carlos Quentin put San Diego ahead with a sacrifice fly, and the Padres beat Los Angeles 4-3 Wednesday night after the teams had split a pair of 11-inning decisions.
Nick Vincent (2-0) retired all four batters he faced after relieving starter Clayton Richard with two outs in the fifth. Fellow rookie Brad Boxberger struck out Shane Victorino and walked Adrian Gonzalez to open the seventh, and Kemp followed with a long drive to center. Maybin timed his leap perfectly before pulling it down.
"When you get a chance to play in these parks, you get a chance to get acclimated to the dimensions and you start to get a gut feeling of where you are. So I had a really good feeling of where I was at," Maybin said.
"It was a great read off the bat, and I did a good job of getting to a spot to get an opportunity to make a much easier play as opposed to a tougher one. I honestly didn't think it was going to go out when it came off the bat, but fortunately I was blessed with long arms and a little bit of jumping ability."
Rookie left-hander Tommy Layne , the seventh Padres pitcher, got the more conventional save by retiring Gonzalez on a one-hopper to second base after Luke Gregerson hit Victorino on the foot with an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth. It was Layne's second save in two opportunities with All-Star closer Huston Street on the disabled list because of a strained left calf.
Layne is one of six current members of the Padres' bullpen who have made their major league debuts this season, along with Vincent, Boxberger, Cory Burns , Casey Kelly and Miles Mikolas . Brad Brach and Dale Thayer also have rookie status, despite having pitched in the majors last season.
"Out of 10 guys in the `pen, we've got eight rookies," manager Bud Black said. "The only guys with service time are Gregerson and Joe Thatcher . So the last three months, there's been a little bit of a shuttle going back and forth between San Diego and Tucson. Tonight we saw Layne, Vincent and Boxberger do a good job. We've seen these guys grow before our eyes, and they're part of our future."
Richard had a 3-0 lead before he threw his first pitch. Everth Cabrera scored on Chase Headley 's double off the center-field fence, and Will Venable followed him home as the relay throw from shortstop Hanley Ramirez skipped past catcher A.J. Ellis for an error. Yasmani Grandal drove in Headley with an infield single to the right side.
Richard gave up singles to his first three batters in the second, including a run-scoring hit by Luis Cruz . The left-hander also yielded singles to his first three batters in the third, including a run-scoring hit by Gonzalez that trimmed San Diego's lead to 3-2.
Victorino went to third on Gonzalez's hit, then got caught in a rundown on Kemp's grounder to first. Moments later, Richard wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam.
Richard was charged with three runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings in his fifth start against the Dodgers this season.
"They got 10 singles off him and had some guys on base, but Clayton did make some pitches to get out of some jams and he battled," Black said. "That's one of those agonizing decisions for a manager, to take one of your lead horses out in the middle of a game. But in a September situation, with a full bullpen, it was just one of those gut calls to take him out."
Dodgers reliever Shawn Tolleson (1-1), who allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings over his previous four appearances, struck out the side on 15 pitches in the sixth after replacing starter Aaron Harang . But the rookie right-hander gave up a leadoff walk in the seventh to Venable, who stole second and scored on Quentin's sacrifice fly after being held at third on Headley's single.
The loss kept the Dodgers 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants in the NL West, with a pivotal three-game series between the storied rivals starting Friday night in San Francisco. Los Angeles remained 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second wild card.
"I think we all get frustrated when we lose games, but you can't dwell on the past," Kemp said. "We've got to turn the page because we've got a big series coming up. And every series is a must-win, so we've got to go out there and play every game like it's our last one because you never know what can happen."
NOTES: Headley needs six RBIs to join Ken Caminiti and Phil Nevin as the only third basemen in Padres history to drive in 100 or more runs in a season. ... The Padres and OF Chris Denorfia agreed to a $4.25 million, two-year contract that runs through the 2014 season.