Los Angeles (86-65) at San Diego (82-70)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Diego, CA
Temp: 51° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 23, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

David Wells thinks his San Diego Padres are better than the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.

He’ll have a chance to back up his recent remarks when the Padres go for a three-game sweep of the Dodgers at Petco Park.

Wells has won six straight decisions, including a 5-1 victory over Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. The 41-year-old left-hander allowed five hits, including a solo homer to Bonds, and struck out five over 7 1-3 innings.

“You can’t have a better guy out there, especially with our backs against the wall,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had stuff, great command. He got into a good groove, except for the mistake to Bonds.”

After his 10th victory in his last 12 decisions, Wells spoke his mind, saying boldly the Padres are better than the Dodgers, a team they trail by 4 1/2 games in the NL West.

“I know we have a better team than the Dodgers; there’s no question,” said Wells, who signed with the Padres in the offseason after spending the previous two years with the New York Yankees.

The Padres had lost four of six at home to the Dodgers before taking the first two games of this series, including a 4-0 decision on Wednesday.

Jake Peavy pitched eight solid innings and Phil Nevin hit a two-run homer to lift the Padres to their seventh win in 10 games.

The Padres are four back of wild card-leading San Francisco with 10 games to play.

The Dodgers are in a bit of a free fall, losing five of seven. Los Angeles leads San Francisco by just a half-game in the West, its smallest advantage since July 15. The Giants defeated Houston 5-1 on Wednesday.

In desperate need of a win, the Dodgers will give the ball to Kazuhisa Ishii, who will start in place of injured left-hander Wilson Alvarez. Ishii will be making his first start since giving up four runs and four hits over 2 1-3 innings in the Dodgers’ 7-6 win over St. Louis on Sept. 10.

He was demoted to the bullpen following that outing, and replaced by Alvarez, but will be looking to match his career high with his 14th win.

Adrian Beltre, who got one of the Dodgers’ three hits Wednesday, is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with two homers and eight RBIs over his last six games.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Ishii NYM vs. B. Lawrence LAA
13-8 Record 15-14
4.71 ERA 4.12
99 K 121
98 BB 55
1.47 WHIP 1.38