The Padres try to move within one game of the NL West-leading Dodgers when they go for their second straight three-game sweep of their division rivals Wednesday at Petco Park.
San Diego (64-62) cut its deficit in the West to two games with a 1-0 victory on Tuesday. The Padres have won 10 of 11 against Los Angeles (66-60) after dropping the first two games in the season series.
The Padres, who have outscored the Dodgers 66-35 over the last 11 games in the series, swept three games in Los Angeles July 24-26. After this set, the teams meet once more, in a four-game series at Dodger Stadium Sept. 15-18.
“The matchup of these two clubs has not been good,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “We have a few games to see if we can get it turned around.”
The Padres, who have won three straight and four of five since a 2-8 stretch, are also two games behind NL wild-card leader Cincinnati, which beat Houston 14-0 on Tuesday.
“We understand what we have to do as a team to win,” said San Diego starter Jake Peavy, who threw seven strong innings Tuesday. “It’s winning close ballgames like this and pitching just enough. That’s how we got there last year and it’s how we’re going to do what we need to do this year.”
Mike Piazza singled in San Diego’s only run in the sixth inning, ending a career-worst 0-for-26 slump. The hit was his first since Aug. 9, when he hit a pair of homers off New York Mets starter Pedro Martinez.
Trevor Hoffman earned his NL-best 33rd save and the 469th of his career, 10 short of Lee Smith’s all-time record.
The Dodgers ended their streak of seven straight series victories with Tuesday’s loss. That stretch started after the Padres’ three-game sweep in July. Los Angeles has lost four of six games following a 17-1 run.
Brad Penny (13-6, 3.70 ERA) will look to help the Dodgers avoid the sweep. He allowed a season high-tying six runs and two homers in six innings of Friday’s 7-3 loss at San Francisco, ending a three-start winning streak.
Penny, who had allowed just seven earned runs in 20 innings during his winning streak, is one victory shy of the career high he set in 2003 with Florida. He is 3-5 with a 5.46 ERA in 11 career starts against the Padres, including an 0-1 mark and 7.36 ERA in two starts against them this season.
San Diego will counter with Woody Williams (6-4, 3.67), who won his second straight start on Friday, allowing two runs and four hits in 7 2-3 innings of an 8-2 victory over Arizona. The win helped San Diego bounce back after being swept in four games by San Francisco.
“That was a clutch performance by Woody,” teammate Mike Cameron said. “But that’s what we’ve come to expect from him. He is a veteran guy who knows how to win.”
Williams, who turned 40 on Saturday, is 7-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 17 career starts against the Dodgers. He has won his last three starts against them, but has not faced them this season.