The Los Angeles Dodgers came to Petco Park hoping to bolster their playoff hopes. They’re instead trying to avoid another three-game sweep in San Diego.
The Dodgers will try to end their five-game losing streak in San Diego when they finish their series against the first-place Padres on Sunday.
Los Angeles (70-65) entered this series on a four-game winning streak, and trailed San Diego by three games and Arizona by four in the NL West standings. After losing the first two games of this series, though, the Dodgers are five games behind both teams with just 27 to play.
With a 7-0 win Saturday, the Padres (75-60) remained one percentage point ahead of Arizona, which defeated Colorado. San Diego’s Jake Peavy pitched seven strong innings to improve to 8-1 in his career against the Dodgers and Mike Cameron hit his fifth career grand slam.
“You look at individual stats, and I don’t think anybody in this room here is worried about how the season ends up if we’re not world champions,” Peavy said. “So we want to try to work our way toward getting in the playoffs, then that goal.”
The shutout was San Diego’s major league-leading 18th of the season, one shy of its franchise record set in 1985.
San Diego is the hottest team in the division with nine wins in 11 games - all against NL contenders New York, Philadelphia, Arizona and Los Angeles. The Padres have also won seven of their last eight meetings with the Dodgers, including a three-game home sweep June 5-7.
Los Angeles appears headed in the opposite direction after managing two hits and striking out 11 times in its second straight loss to start a 10-game road trip. The Dodgers showed their frustration when All-Star catcher Russell Martin was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing with umpire Dan Iassogna after taking a called third strike.
“If you come in half-stepping, not executing plays, not executing pitching, you’re going to have a tough time right now,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said.
Cameron and Adrian Gonzalez have combined to go 7-for-14 with six runs and seven RBIs for the Padres in this series.
Chad Billingsley (9-4, 3.50 ERA) looks to win his third straight start for Los Angeles. He gave up three runs over seven innings on Tuesday and was helped by three double plays in a 4-3 victory over Washington.
“It was a tight game and we were able to push across a couple of runs,” he said. “I try not to think too much - just pitch my game and believe in myself.”
The right-hander improved to 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in four career starts against San Diego by yielding just three hits over seven stellar innings in a 5-0 win on July 1. Billingsley has also appeared three times out of the bullpen against the Padres this year, allowing three runs over 5 2-3 innings.
Justin Germano (7-7, 4.25) will get the start for San Diego. Germano hasn’t beaten a team other than Arizona since he won at Tampa Bay on June 14 to improve to 5-0 on the year.
The right-hander won for the first time in eight starts by yielding three runs over six innings in a 6-4 victory over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. He was 0-4 with a 5.54 ERA in his previous seven games.
Germano is 0-2 with a 10.45 ERA against Los Angeles in three career appearances, including two starts. He lost on July 1 when he opposed Billingsley and allowed five runs over 6 2-3 innings.