The Dodgers bring their slim playoff hopes into the finale of their four-game series with the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium.
Los Angeles continues to have a chance for postseason play. The Dodgers are 3 1/2 games behind the Florida Marlins, with Los Angeles having five games left and Florida having four.
The Dodgers would be eliminated Thursday if they lose and Florida beats Philadelphia. Otherwise, Los Angeles would still have a shot at the postseason when it begins its four-game series at San Francisco on Friday night.
Los Angeles has stayed in the postseason hunt by winning 17 of its last 26 games.
“We’re battling every single day,” Gagne said. “It’s not easy, but we’re getting it done.”
Los Angeles would probably be in a much better spot if it scored more runs, because Nomo would likely have many more victories. The Dodgers, last in the NL in batting average (.245) and runs (3.6 per game), have scored only 12 in Nomo’s 12 losses.
But if the Dodgers get the ball into Gagne’s hands with a lead, it doesn’t matter how many runs they score.
The dominant closer earned his 55th save this season and his major league-record 63rd straight, dating to last season, in Wednesday’s 2-1, 11-inning victory. Gagne is two shy of Bobby Thigpen’s single-season record of 57 saves.
Pinch-hitter Jolbert Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the 11th inning Wednesday as Los Angeles won 2-1.
San Diego has lost 10 of 13. The Padres are 1-5 against the Dodgers during that stretch, managing just four runs in the five losses.
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 2nd place, 13 GB, NL West. Padres - 5th place, 35 1/2 GB, NL West.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Nomo (16-12, 2.98 ERA). Nomo has lost three of his last four starts, and not surprisingly, he got almost no run support. The Dodgers scored two runs in the three losses and were shut out in his last one, a 6-0 loss to San Francisco on Saturday. Nomo is 1-3 with a 5.18 ERA this season against the Padres and 8-7 lifetime.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Brian Lawrence (9-15, 4.33 ERA). Lawrence is 4-1 since Aug. 10. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits, including two homers, in an 11-3 victory at Colorado on Saturday. He is 6-3 with a 2.12 ERA in 16 games, including 10 starts, against the Dodgers.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca and Shawn Green, .277 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 30 HRs; Green, 82 RBIs and 82 runs; Dave Roberts, 40 SBs. Padres - Mark Loretta, .319 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 21 HRs; Brian Giles, 86 RBIs and 89 runs; Gary Matthews, 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Padres, 10-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - Los Angeles is 72-30 when allowing three or fewer runs. … OF Green, who homered Wednesday, has a team-high 47 multihit games. … Gagne has saved 65.5 percent of the Dodgers’ victories, second-best in baseball history. Bryan Harvey saved 70.3 percent (45-of-64) of Florida’s wins in 1993. Padres - With a loss, Lawrence would tie Pittsburgh’s Jeff D’Amico with an NL-high 16 losses. … With a victory, the Padres will finish 10-10 on Thursdays. They are already assured of a losing record on every other day of the week. … Following Thursday’s game, the Padres will open a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies, which will be the final series at Qualcomm Stadium.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 38-38 on the road; Padres - 33-44 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.