Los Angeles (75-66) at Arizona (73-70)

Fair Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 94° F
  • Game info: 9:35 pm EDT Mon Sep 8, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With their offense rejuvenated, the surging Los Angeles Dodgers open a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Ball Park One.

The team with the worst batting average in the National League at .243 took advantage of hitter-friendly Coors Field over the weekend as Los Angeles outscored Colorado 24-11 during a three-game sweep.

The Dodgers have won eight of their last 10 to pull within three games of Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.

Adrian Beltre drove in three runs and had four hits in the Dodgers 6-2 win over the Rockies on Sunday.

“Offensively, we’re beginning to see some very positive things from the middle of our order,” Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said. ”(Adrian) Beltre again today, Fred McGriff, Shawn Green, Jeromy Burnitz. They all had very good at-bats all weekend long.”

Green had a homer and two RBIs for the Dodgers, who are three games in front of the Diamondbacks in the wild-card hunt.

“This series was huge for us not only to win the three games, but also to get a lot of hits and score a lot of runs,” said Green. “We’ve been swinging the bats better.”

Eric Gagne sealed Sunday’s win when he converted his 49th straight save of the season. He has converted a major league-record 57 straight saves dating to last year.

“We were a solid team even when we weren’t hitting that well,” Tracy added. “But with what we’ve been doing offensively, I think it elevates our ballclub a notch. We’re an excellent team when we get offense like that.”

Kevin Brown will start the opener for Los Angeles. In his two previous starts against Arizona this year, the veteran right-hander is 1-0 with an 0.73 ERA. He gave up three hits over six innings in the Dodgers’ 5-0 win over the Diamondbacks on April 3.

The Diamondbacks are coming off a 9-6 win over the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants Sunday. Raul Mondesi homered for the second straight game and Steve Finley had his second consecutive four-hit game.

STANDINGS: Dodgers - 2nd place, 11 GB, NL West. Diamondbacks - 3rd place, 14 GB, NL West.

DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Brown (13-8, 2.37 ERA). Brown allowed four runs and six hits over seven innings in an 8-2 loss to Houston on Wednesday. He is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA in fifteen career starts against the Diamondbacks.

DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Miguel Batista (9-8, 3.30 ERA). Batista gave up seven runs and eight hits over four innings in a 12-0 loss to San Diego on Wednesday. He is 4-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 10 career starts against Los Angeles.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .286 avg., Burnitz, 26 HRs; Beltre, 73 RBIs; Green, 74 runs; Dave Roberts, 36 SBs. Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .394 avg., 23 HRs, 92 RBIs and 85 runs; Finley, 13 SBs.


STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - The Dodgers scratched RHP Hideo Nomo from his next scheduled start Tuesday due to a sore shoulder. Rookie Edwin Jackson, the Dodgers’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2002, will make the start on his 20th birthday. … The Dodgers have the fewest blown saves in the majors (six) this season, and lead the majors with 52 saves and a 2.31 bullpen ERA. … Sunday marked the 10th time 3B Beltre has had four hits in a game, matching a career high. Diamondbacks - RF Mondesi’s homer in the first inning Sunday gave him his sixth season with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases. … 3B-1B Shea Hillenbrand is in a 5-for-38 slump.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 34-35 on the road; Diamondbacks - 40-31 at home.

INJURIES: Dodgers - OF Roberts (neck), day-to-day, LF Brian Jordan (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Diamondbacks - RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Brown NYY vs. M. Batista Col
14-9 Record 10-9
2.39 ERA 3.54
185 K 142
56 BB 60
1.14 WHIP 1.33