The Los Angeles Dodgers are realizing what a little offense can do for good pitching.
Clicking on both ends for the first time all year, the Dodgers look to stay in the thick of the NL wild-card hunt as they continue a four-game series with the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark.
The Dodgers, who boast the majors’ best ERA at 3.11, have scored 38 runs in winning five straight, including Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles still has the fewest runs (518) in the league, but the Dodger offense’s recent surge has drawn them within two games of Florida and Philadelphia for the top spot in the wild-card race.
“Our offense is on a little roll,” Los Angeles outfielder Jeromy Burnitz said. “Face it, we have to do it at this point if we want to win it.”
The Dodgers have won 10 of 12 overall, including the first five of their seven-game road trip.
Paul Lo Duca and Jolbert Cabrera each drove in a run for the Dodgers on Tuesday and Eric Gagne picked up his 50th save, extending his major league record to 58 straight dating to last season. Gagne also became the first pitcher in major league history to record 50 saves in two seasons. He had 52 last season.
Kazuhisa Ishii, who was picked up by the offense in the Dodgers’ 8-7 victory at Colorado on Friday, will start Wednesday. The Japanese left-hander lasted only three innings in that outing, giving up four runs and eight hits while walking three.
It was Ishii’s second start since returning from a left knee injury on Aug. 30. He pitched five innings of three-hit ball in the Dodgers’ 5-0 home victory over Colorado in his first game back.
“I had no problem (with the knee),” Ishii said. “I kind of collapsed before I was able to create my own rhythm and couldn’t recover.”
Ishii, who turned 30 on Tuesday, is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in five career starts against Arizona.
The Diamondbacks have lost eight of 11 to fall seven games back of the wild-card leaders.
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 2nd place, 10 GB, NL West. Diamondbacks - 3rd place, 15 GB, NL West.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Ishii (9-5, 3.42 ERA). Ishii, a 14-game winner as a rookie last season, hasn’t won since July 18 against St. Louis. He is 0-2 in his last four starts. The second-year southpaw is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against Arizona this season.
DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Brandon Webb (9-7, 2.51 ERA). The rookie right-hander was a 3-1 winner at San Francisco on Friday, giving up one run and three hits over seven innings. He walked five, but struck out six. In his 25 outings this season, including 24 starts, Webb has allowed more than three runs just once. Webb, 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA at home this season, has never faced the Dodgers.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Lo Duca, .285 avg., Burnitz, 27 HRs; Adrian Beltre, 74 RBIs; Shawn Green, 76 runs; Dave Roberts, 36 SBs. Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .303 avg., 23 HRs, 92 RBIs and 85 runs; Steve Finley, 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Dodgers, 8-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - C LoDuca is batting .333 (8-for-24) during a six-game hitting streak. … RF Green has three homers and 11 RBIs during a five-game hitting streak, batting .348 (8-for-23) over the stretch. … 3B Beltre has a seven-game hitting streak during which he is batting .469 (15-for-32) with two homers and seven RBIs. Diamondbacks - RHP Webb has limited opponents to a .211 batting average, second-best in the NL. … 3B Shea Hillenbrand has a homer and six RBIs over his last seven games despite batting just .179 (5-for-28) during that span. … RHP Curt Schilling had his second MRI within three weeks Tuesday to check out a groin strain. He is scheduled to pitch Thursday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 36-35 on the road; Diamondbacks - 40-33 at home.
INJURIES: Dodgers - OF 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.