A pair of victories over the team they are chasing in the lackluster NL West was just what the Los Angeles Dodgers needed to put a season-high losing streak behind them.
The Dodgers now hope a three-game series against the last-place San Diego Padres can help them move even closer to the top of the division.
Los Angeles (67-70) is second in the West, 2 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona after taking the last two games of their weekend series. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 8-1 on Sunday following a 6-2 victory a night earlier that halted their eight-game slide. The victories also came against Arizona’s two aces - Brandon Webb and Dan Haren.
“It was a nightmarish start to the road trip, and you look up and there’s two All-Stars coming at you,” said Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe, who got the win opposite Webb Sunday. “You’ve got to give the guys a lot of credit for finding a way to beat these two guys after losing eight in a row on the road.
“We’re going to have go on some substantial run of victories in a row at some point if we want to really catch them and pull away. Hopefully this can be the start of it.”
Los Angeles was two games behind Arizona before its eight-game skid, but was fortunate that the Diamondbacks also have struggled, losing seven of their last nine contests.
The 42-year-old right-hander, a four-time NL Cy Young Award winner, has lost his three prior attempts while posting a 5.00 ERA.
The future Hall of Famer now gets a chance to beat the Padres (53-83), the team that dealt him to Los Angeles for future considerations on Aug. 19. He spent part of the 2006 season with the Dodgers after being acquired from Chicago at the non-waiver trade deadline.
Maddux has struggled in his first two starts with the Dodgers this season, going 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA. He gave up four runs - two earned - and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 loss at Washington on Wednesday.
Maddux hasn’t faced the Padres since beating them with the Dodgers on Sept. 15, 2006.
San Diego has won five of its last six after Luis Rodriguez hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to secure a 2-1 win over Colorado on Sunday.
The Padres are expected to activate Chris Young (4-4, 4.74) from the disabled list Monday and give him his first start since a 16-7 win at Colorado on Aug. 10. In that contest, the right-hander was tagged for seven runs and nine hits before leaving after four innings with a strained right forearm.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 9.82 ERA in his last three starts at Dodger Stadium, lasting more than three innings in only one of those outings.
Young won’t have to contend with Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent, who will undergo surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old Kent, who is batting .275 with 11 homers and 57 RBIs, can begin rehabilitation soon after the operation and could return by the end of the season. The Dodgers will place him on the disabled list and are expected to recall infielder Chin-lung Hu from Triple-A Las Vegas.