Los Angeles (86-63) at San Diego (80-70)

Cloudy Currently: San Diego, CA
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Tue Sep 21, 2004
  • TV: FSN2, Ch4
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Dodgers were almost guilty of looking past the Colorado Rockies. They’ll try to avoid that same trap when they open a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.

Although the Padres are technically still part of the NL West race, making up 6 1/2 games with 12 remaining is extremely difficult, meaning either Los Angeles or archrival San Francisco—2 1/2 games behind the Dodgers—is likely to win the division.

After this series at San Diego, Los Angeles concludes its nine-game road trip with three huge games against the Giants. The teams also close the regular season with three games at Dodger Stadium.

“The Giants are playing really good baseball,” Dodgers closer Eric Gagne said. “They’re not going away, so we’ve got to keep playing our game and go out and win the way we’ve been winning. We can’t look back. If you look back, you’re not going to go forward fast enough.”

The Dodgers easily could have lost all three of their games at Colorado over the weekend, but managed to win two of three by overcoming a pair of five-run deficits. Their rally Sunday was capped by Shawn Green’s two-run homer in the ninth that gave Los Angeles a 7-6 victory.

Green, who ignited a five-run comeback with a home run Friday, called Sunday’s homer the biggest of his career.

“It’s probably the biggest one I’ve had,” Green said. “It’s the first time I’ve been in first place at this time of the season. Any time you win a game with something like that, it’s going to be as big as it can be.”

After losing three of four at home to San Diego last week, the Dodgers hope to fare better at Petco Park.

“We’re going to have a tough series against San Diego and San Francisco,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “There’s no room for mistakes. Hopefully we can get it together and play better baseball.”

Whatever momentum the Padres gained by winning three of four against the Dodgers was lost with two losses in three games at San Francisco this weekend.

Despite seven strong innings from Brian Lawrence pitching on three days’ rest and a game-tying, two-run homer by pinch-hitter Terrence Long, the Padres suffered a 4-2 loss Sunday.

“We can’t afford to lose a game now,” Lawrence said. “We all know it. Momentum was definitely on our side.”

San Diego is four games behind the Giants in the wild-card race, but also trails the Chicago Cubs and Houston.

“These last 12 (games), we’re going to have to win nine or 10, but anything can happen,” Long said. “It’s happened before.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Weaver LAD vs. A. Eaton Col
13-13 Record 11-14
4.01 ERA 4.61
153 K 153
67 BB 52
1.30 WHIP 1.28