(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't been playing so well lately when Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound. They'll have to get over that when Kuroda gets the call tonight in the finale of a three-game series versus the Florida Marlins at Chavez Ravine.
Kuroda is just 2-5 with a 4.93 earned run average in his last eight starts, with the Dodgers going 3-5 over that time. He hopes to erase the memories of his last outing, a 1 2/3-inning stint at Arizona last Friday in which he surrendered six runs and eight hits during a 12-5 affair.
The Japanese right-hander, who managed to beat the New York Yankees the start before, fell to 7-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 16 total outings this season. Kuroda, who won five of his first eight starts, beat the Marlins in his 2010 debut back on April 9 in Miami. He gave up just one unearned run and five hits in eight innings of his team's 7-3 victory.
In four career starts against the Marlins, Kuroda is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA.
Los Angeles will be counting on Kuroda to push that mark to 2-0 after it posted a 7-3 victory last night in the second portion of this set. Vicente Padilla limited the Marlins to a pair of runs on six hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. Jonathan Broxton got the final two outs of the game for his 18th save as the Dodgers won for sixth time in eight tries.
"Vicente was great, he kept throwing strikes," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Everybody was making a contribution. We're playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Casey Blake all homered for the Dodgers, while Rafael Furcal had two hits and three RBI to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Kemp belted a two-run homer during a four-run second inning for Los Angeles, which is three games behind San Diego for the top spot in the NL West Division.
Furcal, who was named NL Player of the Week on Monday, also became the first Dodgers player since Gil Hodges in 1953 to score a run in 12 straight games.
The Dodgers also slightly improved their record against NL East foes to 5-10.
Florida fell 9 1/2 games back in the National League East standings with yesterday's loss, its eighth in the past 12 games. Chris Volstad started for the Fish and failed to come through by allowing five runs on five hits and three walks in only three innings of work. He is 4-8 on the season and was sent to Triple-A New Orleans after the game.
"He was getting behind in the count," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said on the team's site. "And on a team like that, they have good hitters one through nine, you can't do that."
Burke Badenhop was recalled from New Orleans to take Volstad's place.
Taking the hill for Rodriguez's club tonight will be All-Star Josh Johnson, who is 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA over his last two starts -- both Florida losses. Johnson had been 3-0 in his previous four outings before his current winless drought and previously pitched in last Friday's 4-3 setback at Atlanta.
Johnson didn't suffer the loss, as he tossed six innings of one-run ball before the bullpen blew it. He remained at 8-3 this season and lowered his earned run average slightly to 1.82.
The right-hander, who is 2-1 in six road starts this season, faced the Dodgers in a 7-6 win at home back on April 10. He didn't factor into the outcome and allowed three runs in five innings. Johnson is 2-1 with a less desirable 6.23 ERA in five career starts in this series.
Florida won two of three meetings with Los Angeles the last time these two teams got together from April 9-11 of this season.