Arizona (61-50), which last won the NL West in 2002, moved 1 1/2 games ahead of San Diego and two games in front of third-place Los Angeles (58-51) after Friday’s 1-0 victory over the Dodgers.
Doug Davis scattered three hits over eight innings and batterymate Chris Snyder provided all the offense with a solo homer to help Arizona to just its third win in 10 games against the Dodgers. Despite being next-to-last in the NL with a .247 team batting average, the Diamondbacks are 11-2 overall since July 21.
“They don’t wow you with their offensive numbers, but they’ve been able to get big hits when they’ve needed them late in games - and their pitchers have been able to keep them in games,” said Dodgers left fielder Luis Gonzalez, a longtime star for Arizona.
The Diamondbacks will hand the ball to Livan Hernandez (6-7, 4.98 ERA). The right-hander is 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA in his last three starts, and looks to bounce back from his last outing when he yielded a season-high tying eight runs and eight hits in four innings of a 14-0 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday.
“It was a really tough day,” Hernandez said. “It’s a day where you go outside and whatever you try, it’s not going to happen. Whatever you throw they’re going to hit - blooper, base hit, broken bat, whatever. You can do nothing with that.”
Hernandez hasn’t had much success at Dodger Stadium, last winning there on May 4, 2005, while with Washington. Overall, he is 7-12 with a 4.41 ERA in 25 starts against the Dodgers. In his last appearance against them, Hernandez held them to a run and scattered six hits in six innings, but did not receive a decision in the 2-1 loss on May 1.
The Dodgers, losers of seven of their last nine, will counter with Derek Lowe (8-9, 3.45), who returns to the rotation after leaving his last start on July 25 against Houston with a groin pull. The right hander gave up a run and four hits over four innings, and faced just one batter in the fifth before leaving. Lowe tossed a successful 65-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday.
“Everything went great,” he told the Dodgers’ official Web site. “If I felt anything, I was supposed to stop, and the first 30 pitches were tentative and I wasn’t wanting to really throw. This was something I had to do peace-of-mind-wise, that I wasn’t hurt.”
Lowe has struggled since his last start against the Diamondbacks and seeks his first win in more than a month. He is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in his last seven games- six starts - and hasn’t won since defeating Tampa Bay on June 22.
Lowe allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 loss to Arizona on June 27, falling to 2-5 with a 4.62 ERA in 10 starts against the Diamondbacks. Both of those wins, though, have come at Dodger Stadium, where he is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts.