San Diego (53-43) at Los Angeles (56-39)

  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Sat Jul 24, 2004
  • TV: Ch4, KCOP
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Ismael Valdez will try to win his fourth straight start when the San Diego Padres face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle game of their weekend series.

The veteran right-hander will be looking to help the Padres bounce back from a 3-2 loss in the series opener Friday night, a game which ended with the Dodgers’ Adrian Beltre homering off Rod Beck with one out in the ninth inning.

“We’ve rallied late in games and come up with some huge hits and huge home runs,” Los Angeles’ Shawn Green said. “And every game you think, `Hey, can we do it again?’ These are the kind of wins you just don’t see more than a few times a year on a normal team. Those are the kind of signs you see on teams that do great things late in the season.”

Los Angeles won for the 16th time in 18 games and increased its lead in the NL West over San Diego and San Francisco Giants to 3 1/2 games.

“I did expect the team to have a run like this,” Beltre said. “This club has what it takes to win. We’ve had some ups and downs and tough times, but we’ve gotten it together and we’re playing the way we should be playing.”

Beltre’s homer increased his career-high total to 26. He is hitting .325 with 66 RBIs despite playing the entire season with bone chips in his ankle.

San Diego had its four-game win streak snapped, and lost for just the second time in its last nine overall.

“It’s just another loss,” Padres center fielder Jay Payton said. “It would have been nice to get the win and pick up a game instead of losing a game. But we’ve still got 66 games left, and we’ve got plenty more head-to-heads with them.”

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Starting Pitchers

I. Valdez Mia vs. W. Alvarez LAD
14-9 Record 7-6
5.19 ERA 4.03
67 K 102
49 BB 31
1.48 WHIP 1.16