San Francisco (69-86) at Los Angeles (81-74)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 4:10 pm EDT Sun Sep 21, 2008
  • TV: CSBA, PRIME
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A key reason for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ success over the last three weeks has been the pitching of Derek Lowe.

Lowe goes for his fifth consecutive victory as the Dodgers try to move closer to claiming the NL West in the deciding game of their three-game home set with the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon.

There haven’t been many who have pitched better than Lowe (14-11, 3.40 ERA) over the last month. He allowed one run and five hits in seven innings of a 6-2 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, improving to 4-0 with a 0.68 ERA since losing at Washington on Aug. 26.

The right-hander has allowed 14 hits during his winning stretch while the Dodgers have won each of those contests by at least four runs. Los Angeles (81-74) led 5-0 after three innings of his last outing.

“They made it easy by getting me an early lead and allowed me to settle in,” said Lowe, who is 4-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 12 starts against San Francisco and 1-0 versus the Giants this season.

After falling 7-1 in Friday’s opener with rival San Francisco (69-86), Los Angeles won 10-7 on Saturday to improve to 16-4 since losing eight in a row. The Dodgers are still 3 1/2 games up on Arizona with seven remaining as they try for their first division title since 2004 and fifth playoff berth in the last 20 years.

“We’re really in the driver’s seat and it’s up to us to keep winning,” Lowe told the Dodgers’ official Web site. “That’s the motivation. As hard as we had to fight to get to this spot, we don’t want to let it go.”

Manny Ramirez went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs for Los Angeles, which is 27-20 since he was acquired from Boston. Ramirez is hitting .404 with 16 homers and 49 RBIs in 47 games with the Dodgers. He is 9-for-21 with two home runs and seven RBIs in five games against San Francisco this season.

Matt Cain (8-13, 3.91) tries to avoid a fifth consecutive losing decision when he takes the ball for the Giants. In another hard-luck outing, Cain allowed two runs and seven hits - including a pair of solo homers - while striking out seven in seven innings of a 2-0 loss at Arizona on Tuesday.

“I made two mistakes,” said Cain, who is 0-4 with a 5.55 ERA in his last six starts. “That cost me. Sometimes you can get away with those, but today those were two mistakes that didn’t stay in the ballpark.”

The right-hander looks to finally end his drought against the Dodgers, who he is 0-5 with a 4.73 ERA against in nine starts. He is 0-2 in four outings this season.

Bengie Molina had three hits on Saturday for the Giants, who have lost five of their last six. Molina is 9-for-17 with two doubles and two home runs with six RBIs in his last four contests.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Cain SF vs. D. Lowe Tex
8-14 Record 14-11
3.76 ERA 3.24
186 K 147
91 BB 45
1.36 WHIP 1.13

Scoreboard

Sunday, Sep 21