Rookie Andre Ethier and the Los Angeles Dodgers look to continue their recent road success and win their ninth straight series when they conclude a weekend series with the San Francisco Giants Sunday.
The Dodgers (65-58) lead the NL West by three games over Arizona, but have been dreadful on the road most of the season. Los Angeles has won seven of its last eight away from Dodger Stadium, but is just 26-32 on the road in 2006.
Ethier, a favorite for NL Rookie of the Year, has been one of the biggest reasons for the Dodgers’ recent road turnaround. He went 4-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs in Saturday’s 14-7 win over the Giants (59-64), and is batting .415 (22-for-53) with six doubles and nine RBIs in his last 13 road games.
Los Angeles is 27-5 when Ethier scores a run and 24-7 when he has an RBI.
With Saturday’s win—the Dodgers’ 18th in 21 games—Greg Maddux moved into a tie with Steve Carlton for 10th on the all-time wins list with 329.
“You can’t really put into words what he does,” said Ethier, who was just 4 years old when Maddux made his debut with the Chicago Cubs in 1986.
The four-time Cy Young Award winner improved to 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts since being acquired from the Cubs on July 31.
Sunday’s starter Derek Lowe (10-8, 3.97 ERA) has been pitching well lately for the Dodgers, but had one of his worst starts of the season against San Francisco more than a month ago.
Lowe gave up seven runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings of an 11-7 loss to the Giants on July 8, and is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in six career starts against them.
That loss last month to the Giants triggered a season-high three-game losing streak in which Lowe posted a 9.60 ERA.
The right-hander has been able to get his season back on track, though, going 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up one run and four hits in seven innings of a 4-2 win over Florida on Monday.
“Lowe’s been very good the last several outings, and tonight was no different,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. “He took us deep into the ballgame when we needed him to.”
The Giants counter with Matt Morris (8-10, 4.62), who seeks his first win in more than a month.
Morris last won on July 14 over Philadelphia, and although he pitched well in his last start, he was unable to end his winless streak. The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 win over San Diego on Tuesday, but did not factor in the decision.
“I felt pretty good,” said Morris, who is 0-3 with a 6.06 ERA in six starts. “I’m just trying to win the game, go as deep as I can and hopefully hand off a lead to the bullpen.”
Morris is 3-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 12 career games against the Dodgers, and is 0-1 in two starts against them this season, allowing 11 runs and 18 hits in 13 innings.
San Francisco, which saw its five-game winning streak end Saturday, has dropped nine of 15 games to Los Angeles this season.
Barry Bonds left Saturday’s game in the fourth inning with tightness in his back and is doubtful for the series finale. Bonds has 16 homers in 98 games and 724 for his career.