San Diego (78-65) at Los Angeles (75-69)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Wed Sep 12, 2007
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The San Diego Padres haven’t performed as well as they would have liked during a tough nine-game road stretch against playoff contenders, but their struggles have yet to severely impact their playoff chances.

The Padres (78-65) look to increase their lead in the wild-card race as they continue a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

San Diego improved to 3-4 on this trip following Tuesday’s 9-4 win over the Dodgers (75-69). The Padres have also faced division-leading Arizona and playoff-hopeful Colorado during this stretch.

Brian Giles, Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Geoff Blum each homered for the Padres, while Jake Peavy won his NL-leading 17th game by allowing two runs in seven innings.

“No way I can come in here and let the Dodgers win this first game,” Peavy said. “If I do that, then the team morale really gets down and we can easily roll over. You want to lead by example and I was just hoping to be good for the boys tonight and fortunately I was.”

With Tuesday’s win, the Padres increased their lead in the wild card race to 2 1/2 games after the Phillies lost 8-2 to the Rockies. San Diego also cut Arizona’s lead in the NL West to 2 1/2 games following the Diamondbacks’ 2-1 defeat to San Francisco.

The Dodgers, who have dropped four of their last six, are tied with the Rockies for third place in the wild card, 3 1/2 games behind the Padres.

“We need to win tomorrow and go from there,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “We’ve still got 18 games to go and we’ve just got to continue to play hard and hope the ball starts falling in our favor.”

Chad Billingsley (10-4, 3.22 ERA) will make a spot start for the Dodgers after scheduled starter Derek Lowe was unable to pitch due to a bruised right hand suffered before Tuesday’s game on a throw from fellow reliever Jonathan Broxton while playing catch.

“I missed the ball,” said Lowe, wearing a blue wrap on his right hand. “We weren’t messing around. Broxton never lobs anything. I just missed it. It had been a long time since I missed one.”

The injury has forced Little to juggle his rotation, moving Brad Penny up one day to start the opener of a crucial three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks while hoping Lowe can pitch Saturday’s game. The day off Monday allowed Billingsley to step in with his normal four days’ rest.

He was denied a win for a fourth consecutive start, but Billingsley was effective in limiting San Francisco to two runs in six innings before the bullpen squandered a lead in a 5-4 loss to San Francisco on Friday.

Billingsley has a 1.67 ERA in his last four starts, yielding just five earned runs in 27 innings. He has won both his starts against the Padres and is 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA in five appearances this year, striking out 29 in 19 2-3 innings.

The right-hander defeated them Sept. 2, scattering four hits and striking out nine in seven innings of a 5-0 win.

Justin Germano (7-9, 4.38) looks to end a two-game losing streak countering for San Diego. Germano allowed five runs and six hits in a season-short three innings on Friday against the Rockies.

“I couldn’t find the grip on anything,” Germano told the Padres’ official Web site. “The balls were dry … some were slipping out of my hand. I didn’t know what the ball was going to do.”

Germano is 4-3 on the road this season, but he has not won in his last four road starts, and he has a 7.36 ERA during that stretch. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.16 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance against the Dodgers. He is 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA in two starts this season. Germano allowed one run and eight hits in six innings against them Sept. 2 in a 5-0 loss.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Germano Sea vs. C. Billingsley Phi
7-10 Record 12-5
4.46 ERA 3.31
78 K 141
40 BB 64
1.30 WHIP 1.33

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Sep 12