After pulling off their first series sweep since July, the Los Angeles Dodgers have an opportunity to move 30 games above .500 for the first time in nearly 24 years.
They’ll try to do so Friday night as they open a three-game home set with the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles (88-59) defeated Pittsburgh 3-1 on Wednesday for its first sweep of a series since July 20-22, when it took three games from Cincinnati.
Los Angeles moved 29 games above .500 for the first time since it was 95-66 on the second-to-last day of the 1985 season. The last time the Dodgers were 30 games above .500 was Oct. 2, 1985, when they were 94-64.
Vicente Padilla(notes) (3-0, 2.01 ERA) will try to help the Dodgers reach that mark when he takes the mound in the series opener. The right-hander is scheduled to oppose the Giants’ Jonathan Sanchez(notes) for the second time in six days.
Padilla came out on top in the first meeting, surrendering one run and three hits with five strikeouts over six innings of a 9-1 victory at AT&T Park on Saturday.
“It’s fun being here,” said Padilla, who signed a minor league contract with Los Angeles last month after being released by Texas. “I’m very happy. The boys welcomed me and it gives me more confidence. It’s very simple: I just have to pitch.”
Sanchez (6-12, 4.16) fell to 0-4 with a 5.68 ERA against Los Angeles after allowing five runs in 4 1-3 innings.
The left-hander has started twice at Dodger Stadium and lost both games with a 9.00 ERA.
“We’re always together. We’re excited to be out there, but it’s not working right now,” Sanchez said after the Giants lost their fourth in a row Saturday. “We can’t give up. We’ve got a lot of games left to play.”
After defeating the Dodgers 7-2 in Sunday’s series finale, San Francisco (79-67) won two straight over wild card-leading Colorado before losing 4-3 on Wednesday. The Giants rallied with three runs in the ninth but fell 3 1/2 games behind the Rockies.
“We’ve still got time, and we can think about what happened tonight and learn from it,” right-hander Matt Cain(notes) told the team’s official Web site. “These guys never quit. They kept battling and battling, and I think that really shows what this team is about.”
Los Angeles is in much better shape, leading the NL West by five games over Colorado.
“Our destiny is in our hands right now, and we don’t need any help from anybody,” manager Jim Torre told the team’s official Web site. “It’s a matter of going out and doing the job ourselves.”
Shortstop Edgar Renteria(notes) returned to San Francisco’s lineup Wednesday after sitting out three games with a sore left shoulder. He is in an 0-for-17 slump, but has gone 8 for 19 with two homers and six RBIs versus Padilla.
Los Angeles has won nine of 15 versus San Francisco in 2009 and four of six at Dodger Stadium.