(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers hope they can build off Tuesday's much-needed win over the first-place San Diego Padres when the two National League West foes continue a critical four-game series this evening from Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers finally put an end to a frustrating six-game losing streak with last night's 2-1 victory over the Padres, receiving a nice lift from Ted Lilly in the recently-acquired pitcher's debut with his new club.
Lilly (4-8), who came over from the Chicago Cubs along with second baseman Ryan Theriot in a five-player trade on Saturday, limited San Diego to one run and a mere two hits over seven outstanding innings. The veteran lefty fanned five and did not walk a batter while throwing 65 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
Miguel Tejada had given the Padres a quick 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the top of the first and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single. However, Lilly proceeded to retire the next 20 batters he faced before giving way to reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to start the eighth.
"I was anxious and a little nervous. I tried to settle down," Lilly said of his start. "[Catcher] Russell [Martin] and I were on the same page. I got into a little bit of a groove and was able to locate my fastball."
Martin also helped Lilly with his bat, delivering a two-run double in the second inning that turned out to be the game-winning hit.
Los Angeles didn't muster much more against Padres starter Mat Latos (11-5), with the young standout yielding just four hits and striking out six in a six- inning stint.
Tuesday's triumph, only the sixth for Los Angeles in 19 games since the All- Star break, moved the Dodgers to eight games back of the front-running Padres in the NL West standings and kept the team seven behind red-hot San Francisco for the lead in the league's Wild Card race. After defeating Colorado on Tuesday, the Giants now sit just one game behind San Diego for the division's top spot.
With their lead continuing to shrink, the Padres will be counting on a big effort from starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc in tonight's third test of this set. The left-hander has struggled as of late, however, having lost five of his last six decisions and allowing 11 homers over that seven-start stretch that spans a total of 42 1/3 innings.
LeBlanc served up two long balls in Friday's clash with Florida and was reached for four runs in 6 1/3 innings to receive his latest loss. He's also dropped three of his last four decisions on the road and has compiled a 3-4 record and 4.74 earned run average in eight away outings for the year.
The 2006 second-round pick, who'll turn 26 on Saturday, is just 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA over five career starts against the Dodgers as well. However, LeBlanc did surrender only one run and two hits in seven sharp innings of a hard-luck 1-0 loss at Dodger Stadium on May 16.
Vicente Padilla takes the mound for Los Angeles seeking to improve off his shortest appearance of the season. The veteran righty lasted only four innings in a matchup with the Padres last Thursday, throwing 90 pitches and permitting two runs on four hits and a pair of walks in a no-decision.
Padilla did strike out six San Diego hitters in that game and has usually pitched well since returning from an arm injury in mid-June. Over his last six trips to the hill, the 32-year-old has gone 3-1 with an excellent 1.40 ERA and has allowed two runs or less each time during that stretch.
The native Nicaraguan has also been tough at home, where Padilla has posted a 3-2 record and a 2.02 ERA in five starts this year. He's 2-1 lifetime against the Padres with a 3.32 ERA in 17 appearances, eight of which have come in a starting role.
San Diego took two of three games from Los Angeles when the teams met at Petco Park last week, but the Dodgers have won six of the 10 bouts between the divisional foes so far this year. The clubs split a two-game set at Dodger Stadium from May 19-20.