Los Angeles (74-71) at San Diego (56-89)

  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Wed Sep 10, 2008
  • TV: KCAL, Ch4
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Andre Ethier’s recent performance at the plate and Derek Lowe’s work on the mound are key reasons the Los Angeles Dodgers are in first place in the NL West.

The Dodgers hope both players can continue to help them as they face the host San Diego Padres looking to win their fourth consecutive series Wednesday night.

After having their eight-game winning streak snapped with a 4-0 loss at San Diego on Monday, Los Angeles (74-71) bounced back with a 6-2 victory Tuesday. The latest result increased the Dodgers’ lead in the West to a season-high 2 1/2 games over Arizona, which fell at San Francisco earlier in the night for its fifth loss in a row.

Ethier went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, highlighted by a three-run double to break things open in the top of the ninth. The right fielder is batting .510 (26-for-51) with four homers and 15 RBIs over his last 13 games and .388 (19-for-49) with 12 RBIs in 14 games against San Diego this season.

“Staying calm, keeping cool and just having fun with it throughout the game,” said Ethier, who has benefited by hitting No. 2 in the order in front of Manny Ramirez the last 12 games. “You’re going to have your ups and downs and that’s the biggest thing (Ramirez has) showed me and taught me and you’ve got to smile and have fun through it all.”

Ramirez hit a solo home run, giving him 12 and 36 RBIs in 37 games since being acquired from Boston.

Lowe (12-11, 3.53 ERA) will pitch Wednesday after he allowed two hits in eight innings of a 7-0 victory over Arizona on Friday for his second straight win over the Diamondbacks. He has not yielded a run in 19 consecutive innings.

“Derek commanded the strike zone, got ahead in the counts, pitched quick, which keeps your defense involved and let’s your offense go back out in the dugout and get back on offense and get things rolling again,” Ethier told the Dodgers’ official Web site.

The right-hander is 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 career starts versus San Diego and 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts this season.

The last-place Padres (56-89) had won two in a row before Tuesday’s loss eliminated them from postseason contention. San Diego won the weak NL West in 2005 and 2006, then fell one victory short of the postseason last year.

Brian Giles had two hits and Kevin Kouzmanoff singled while driving in his fifth run in three games. Kouzmanoff is 6-for-20 with seven RBIs in five games against the Dodgers this month.

San Diego’s Shawn Estes (2-1, 2.97) looks to follow up a strong outing in his second start since coming off the disabled list from a broken thumb. He allowed one run and seven hits in six innings to win 5-2 at Milwaukee on Thursday in his first action since May 28.

“This is a time when I need to go out there and prove to teams that I’m healthy and I can get big league hitters out,” Estes told the Padres’ official Web site.

The left-hander is 6-8 with a 5.15 ERA in 28 starts versus Los Angeles and makes his first since 2005.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Lowe TEX vs. S. Estes WAS
14-11 Record 2-3
3.24 ERA 4.74
147 K 19
45 BB 18
1.13 WHIP 1.56


Wednesday, Sep 10