Miami (60-59) at San Diego (64-56)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: San Diego, CA
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Aug 20, 2004
  • TV: FSFL, Ch4
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Two days after beating the NL’s most dominant reliever, the Florida Marlins will try to cause more problems for one of the league’s all-time great closers as they open a three-game set against Trevor Hoffman and the San Diego Padres.

Florida defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 on Wednesday thanks to Lenny Harris’ pinch-hit, three-run double off reigning Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne in the ninth inning.

“That’s one I’m never going to forget, off a pitcher like him,” said Harris, the major league record holder with 190 pinch-hits. “But that’s what I do. I come off the bench and face the best guys out of the ‘pen.

“But, hey, I’m not all-time for nothing.”

Hoffman is fourth on the all-time list with 383 saves, and when he enters the game with a lead, San Diego usually can count on a victory. However, he has looked shaky of late.

The 36-year-old right-hander has taken the loss in two of his last four appearances, giving up five runs and nine hits, including two homers, over four innings. Hoffman blew a save for the fourth time in 35 chances Wednesday, when he allowed a two-run homer to Andruw Jones in the ninth as San Diego lost 6-5 to Atlanta.

“This time of the season, these games are huge,” Hoffman said. “For the guys to battle back and for me to come in and lose it, it’s frustrating.”

Though Florida winning Wednesday helped their cause, the Padres remained 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West. They are 1 1/2 behind San Francisco for the NL wild card.

The Marlins, five games back in the wild-card chase, enter this matchup having won four of five.

San Diego had won four of six on the road—against the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati—before returning home this week and losing two of three to NL East-leading Atlanta.

Padres right fielder Brian Giles enters this matchup having reached base safely in a club-record 11 consecutive plate appearances. He’s gone 3-for-3 with two walks in each of the last two games, with two homers, two doubles and a triple.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Willis Bal vs. B. Lawrence LAA
10-11 Record 15-14
4.02 ERA 4.12
139 K 121
61 BB 55
1.38 WHIP 1.38