Padres-Dodgers Preview

AP - Sports

The San Diego Padres gave a strong effort in their latest meeting with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the result was the same.

Merely challenging Ted Lilly would be an improvement for San Diego's hitters.

Lilly is scheduled to come off the disabled list to make his season debut Saturday night when the Dodgers go for an eighth straight home win over the Padres.

Los Angeles (7-1) improved to 4-1 against San Diego this season by winning its fourth straight overall, 9-8 win in Friday night's series opener.

Andre Ethier drove in two runs during a four-run third inning, then forced in the winning run when he took a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk in the ninth. San Diego, which had tied the game in top of the frame on Chase Headley's two-run homer, issued four straight walks - three by Andrew Cashner and one by Joe Thatcher - after recording the first two outs.

"It was a strange game," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It started off with two guys pitching really well, and then the game got crazy. I'm sure the Dodgers felt pretty comfortable in the middle of the game. Then we dropped it on them in the ninth and they came back with a gift at the end."

While Aaron Harang recorded a team-record nine straight strikeouts at one point, it was the Dodgers offense that made the victory possible. Matt Kemp hit his third homer of the season - all coming against the Padres - and Mark Ellis drove in a pair as Los Angeles went 4 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Kemp is 8 for 19 with 10 RBIs against the Padres this season and has a 10-game hitting streak in the series overall.

He's just one of the problems San Diego (2-6) faces in the second game of the weekend. The Padres, who struck out 18 times Friday, have long struggled against Lilly.

The left-hander is 10-4 with a 2.68 lifetime ERA against the Padres, including 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA last season. He won all three of his home starts versus San Diego in 2011.

Lilly, who went 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA overall in 2011, opened this season on the disabled list with recurring neck stiffness. He struggled in his rehab start, allowing seven runs in six innings last Sunday, but the Dodgers don't appear concerned.

"I'm not worried about it," manager Don Mattingly told the team's official website. "Really, it's just to get his work in and to make sure he's healthy."

The Padres have lost their last two games and are batting .190 on the season, an average that rose 11 points Friday despite the fact San Diego hitters struck out 18 times. They fanned 13 times in a home loss to Arizona on Thursday.

Despite Headley's home run Friday, he's batting .192 on the season with 11 strikeouts, four in his last two games.

Trying to bounce back, the Padres will send Joe Wieland to the mound to make his major league debut.

One of two prospects obtained from Texas for reliever Mike Adams at last July's trade deadline, Wieland went 13-4 with a 1.97 ERA in 26 minor league appearances in 2011.

The 22-year-old right-hander was winless in five spring appearances for San Diego, but struck out 15 over 18 1-3 innings.

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