The Los Angeles Dodgers created a little breathing room between themselves and the rest of the NL West on Friday.
Now, they’ll look to extend their lead in the division when they continue their three-game series with the San Francisco Giants Saturday at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers (60-56) beat the Giants 3-2 on Friday for their 13th win in 14 games. One night after taking over sole possession of first place in the West for the first time since June 26, Los Angeles picked up a game on both Arizona and San Diego.
Los Angeles was 7 1/2 games behind division leader San Diego on July 26, but now leads the Padres and Diamondbacks by 1 1/2 games.
The Giants (54-61), meanwhile, have dropped three straight and 14 of 17 to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the division.
Barry Bonds went 1-for-1 with an RBI and three walks Friday, but remained stuck on 723 home runs, 32 behind Hank Aaron’s all-time mark. Bonds has not homered since Aug. 3.
Bonds’ RBI gave him 1,902 for his career, one behind his godfather, Willie Mays, who is seventh on the career list.
Matt Cain (8-8, 4.62 ERA) will look to help San Francisco rebound on Saturday. He allowed two runs and struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings of Sunday’s 6-2 win over Colorado.
The rookie right-hander had lost his previous two starts, but has gone at least six innings in each of his last five outings.
“Definitely from the first inning on, I feel relaxed and calm and understand what I need to do,” he said. “I almost feel as the season wears on your body and you get a little tired … maybe not tired, but comfortable and in a relaxed state, instead of hyper.”
Cain, who pitched a one-hitter at Oakland on May 21 and came within four outs of a no-hitter on June 19 against the Los Angeles Angels, has struck out 10 three times this season.
He made his only start against the Dodgers on July 6, allowing three runs in four innings of the Giants’ 5-4 win.
Los Angeles will counter with Brad Penny (12-5, 3.43), who allowed two runs and two homers in eight innings of Monday’s 7-2 win over the Rockies. The All-Star right-hander has allowed four runs in 14 innings in consecutive wins after dropping three straight starts, but has given up four homers in that span.
“I was throwing a lot of changeups and breaking balls early in the count,” said Penny, who is tied for the NL lead in wins. “They were hitting the ball decent, but right at people. And that’s always huge for me. Fortunately, I got a lot of early outs tonight and a lot of great defense behind me.”
Penny is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 11 career appearances, including 10 starts, against the Giants. He has made two starts and one relief appearance against them this season, going 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA.