The Los Angeles Dodgers have no margin for error.
Down to their final eight games, the Dodgers will make their final push for the NL wild card as they open a four-game series against the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium.
Los Angeles salvaged the finale of its three-game series with San Francisco on Sunday, beating the playoff-bound Giants 7-5.
The Dodgers moved within 2 1/2 games of Florida for the wild card. However, Philadelphia (85-71) and Chicago (84-72) are also ahead of them in the standings.
“We have a tall order ahead of us,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. “It looked like we had to win out to get there, to win the final nine. To do that, you have to win the first one.”
“We are definitely alive,” said Green, who also tripled. “If we pull off a big series in San Diego, then all of a sudden we can be even in the loss column. Then it’s in our hands.”
The Dodgers have lost nine of 15 meetings with the Padres this season, including five of six at Qualcomm Stadium.
Following this series, Los Angeles visits San Francisco for four, including a day-night doubleheader at Pacific Bell Park on Saturday.
“We just have to go out and play our game and not look around and check the scoreboard,” Ventura said. “Just play.”
The Padres completed their road schedule with a 5-3 loss at Colorado on Sunday. They lost two of three to the Rockies, and have dropped eight of 10 overall.
San Diego needs just two wins in final next seven games to avoid its first 100-loss season since finishing 61-101 in 1993.
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 2nd place, 13 GB, NL West. Padres - 5th place, 34 1/2 GB, NL West.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Odalis Perez (12-11, 4.35 ERA). Perez missed his scheduled start on Wednesday against Arizona due to broken nail on the middle finger of his pitching hand. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA over his last three starts, and has won six of eight decisions overall. He suffered a 2-0 road loss to Arizona on Sept. 11, despite pitching seven innings of five-hit ball. He walked three and struck out six. Perez is 1-2 with a 4.62 ERA in four career starts against San Diego. He gave up two runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings, but didn’t get a decision in the Dodgers’ 4-3 win at San Diego on April 6.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Mike Bynum (0-3, 8.78 ERA). Bynum, who takes the rotation spot of Kevin Jarvis, gave up six runs and seven hits over 4 2-3 innings in an 8-3 loss to San Francisco on Wednesday. The left-hander, who has just one victory in six career starts, is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA at home this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .277 avg.; Burnitz, 29 HRs; Green, 81 RBIs and 81 runs; Dave Roberts, 40 SBs. Padres - Mark Loretta, .323 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 21 HRs; Brian Giles, 84 RBIs and 87 runs; Gary Matthews Jr., 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Padres, 9-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - 3B Beltre’s home run Sunday was his career-high 22nd, and 16th since the All-Star break. … The Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back homers for the first time since May 23 last year at Milwaukee, when Green, Beltre and Dave Hansen homered. … RHP Eric Gagne recorded his 53rd save of the season on Sunday, breaking the franchise record for saves in one season that he set last year. He also extended his major league record for consecutive saves to 61. Padres - LF Giles is 4-for-9 (.444) against LHP Perez with a homer and an RBI. Giles has reached base safely in 46 of his last 51 games. … 2B Loretta has an 11-game hitting streak. … The Padres will be moving into PETCO Park next season after 35 years at Qualcomm Stadium.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 36-37 on the road; Padres - 32-42 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; RHP Alfredo Gonzalez (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Padres - 1B Klesko (shoulder), 15-day DL.