San Diego (53-42) at Los Angeles (55-39)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Fri Jul 23, 2004
  • TV: Ch4, KCOP
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Boasting the National League’s best home record, the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers will try to stay in control of the NL West as they open a three-game series with their closest challenger, the surging San Diego Padres.

The Dodgers, an NL-best 30-18 at home this year, lead the Padres by 2 1/2 games for the top spot in the division.

Both teams enter playing well, with the Dodgers posting seven come-from-behind victories in their last eight games, and the Padres winning six of seven since the All-Star break.

Milton Bradley hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth as Los Angeles rallied to beat Colorado 4-2 on Thursday.

“To be a championship-caliber club,” said Bradley, who tied Monday night’s game at Houston with a home run before Shawn Green followed with a go-ahead homer. “you’ve got to put clubs away and also come from behind.”

Bradley, who hit his career-high 11th homer, is batting .343 with 13 RBIs in his last 19 games.

The Dodgers will start Jose Lima, who has won three straight starts and five of his last six decisions. That stretch includes a 10-3 victory at Arizona on Sunday in which the Dominican right-hander allowed three runs and 10 hits over eight innings.

The Padres posted a 9-4 victory at San Francisco on Thursday, snapping Jason Schmidt’s 12-game winning streak and completing a two-game sweep of the Giants.

Jay Payton hit a three-run homer, and Mark Loretta also homered and had three hits for San Diego, which won its fourth in a row.

Brian Lawrence, who has a team-high 10 wins this season, is scheduled to start for the Padres. The 28-year-old right-hander has lost four of six decisions, including Sunday’s 5-3 defeat at Houston. He gave up five runs and a season-high 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings.

Lawrence, however, is 8-4 with a 2.30 ERA in 19 career appearances, including 13 starts, against Los Angeles. The eight wins are his most against any opponent.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Lawrence LAA vs. J. Lima NYM
15-14 Record 13-5
4.12 ERA 4.07
121 K 93
55 BB 34
1.38 WHIP 1.24