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Dodgers Go For Third Series Win Over Cubs

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(Sports Network) -- In a first half filled with disappointment, Carlos Silva has been an unexpected source of joy for the Chicago Cubs. Tonight the rejuvenated pitcher takes aim at a 10th victory of 2010 when he takes the mound for the North Siders, who'll be attempting to salvage a split of a four- game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the final contest for both teams before the All-Star break.

After back-to-back forgettable seasons with Seattle in which amassed a brutal 5-18 record with an equally-poor 6.81 earned run average, Silva was dealt to the Cubs in the offseason for troublesome outfielder Milton Bradley in a swap of underachievers. The deal has provided a new lease on life for the right- hander, who's emerged as the most consistent member of the Chicago rotation. Through his first 16 starts as a Cub, Silva has posted an impressive 9-2 record along with a 2.96 ERA and walked a mere nine batters in 100 1/3 innings of work.

The 31-year-old returned to the win column by holding the Diamondbacks to two runs and four hits over six sharp innings this past Tuesday in Arizona, upping his season road record to 5-0 with a 3.05 ERA in seven starts. Silva had registered two losses and a pair of no-decisions over his previous four outings, although he allowed two runs and lasted at least six innings in three of those games.

Silva enters tonight's tilt riding a string of seven consecutive quality starts and has gone 3-2 with an outstanding 2.31 ERA over that span. He also sports a 3-0 mark in seven lifetime appearances (two starts) against the Dodgers, but hasn't faced Los Angeles since the 2006 season.

As a team the Cubs haven't been nearly as consistent, as the expected National League Central contenders enter today's play 10 games under .500 (39-49) for the season and 9 1/2 games back of surprising Cincinnati for first place in the division. Chicago has won four of the first six tests on its current road trip, however, and got back on track in this series with a 7-3 victory on Saturday.

The Cubs pounded Los Angeles rookie John Ely for six runs over the first three innings en route to avenge a pair of losses to the Dodgers to begin this set. Geovany Soto knocked in three of those runs with a homer and a single as part of a 3-for-4 day at the plate.

Starlin Castro added a pair of RBI singles and Aramis Ramirez had a solo homer for Chicago, which received six effective innings out of starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny as well.

Gorzelanny (4-5) allowed two runs -- one earned -- and struck out seven Los Angeles hitters while issuing just one walk.

"It was a good day," said Gorzelanny. "Things worked out the way I wanted them to, I was able to put pitches where I wanted to [and] was able to locate."

Ely (4-7), on the other hand, struggled mightily for the Dodgers. The slumping rookie was rocked for six runs on five hits and walked three batters before being removed with one out in the third inning.

"It's tough to lose your starter that early and give up six runs," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "[Ely] couldn't get them to swing at his changeup or get his changeup over for a strike, and that's one of his best pitches."

Torre turns to Vicente Padilla tonight in hopes of claiming a series win. The Dodgers' Opening Day starter comes in having won back-to-back starts and has surrendered two runs or fewer in each of his last three assignments, while pitching into the seventh inning on all of those occasions.

Padilla delivered a seven-inning gem to defeat rival San Francisco on June 30, yielding a run on three hits to help Los Angeles to an 8-2 win, then followed up by limiting Florida to two runs in 6 2/3 innings Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. The veteran right-hander also struck out a season-best nine Marlins in improving to 3-2 on the year.

The native Nicaraguan has made just eight starts this season due to an arm injury that forced him to spend two months on the disabled list, but is 2-1 with a solid 3.05 ERA in three trips to the Dodger Stadium hill. Padilla is 3-4 lifetime against the Cubs with a 4.79 ERA in 15 games, six of which have come in a starting role.

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, selected as a starter for the NL in Tuesday's All-Star Game, knocked in two of his team's three runs in Saturday's setback and presently ranks second in the Senior Circuit with a .324 average.

Los Angeles had won eight of its last 11 tilts prior to yesterday's loss and is just two games back of front-running San Diego in the NL West race, with Colorado only one game off the pace in second place.

Chicago won two of three meetings with the Dodgers at Wrigley Field back in late May, but Los Angeles is 10-7 in the last 17 encounters between the teams.