San Diego (61-53) at Cincinnati (49-65)

Cloudy Currently: Cincinnati, OH, US
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 10, 2007
  • TV: Ch4, FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Scoring runs has been an issue all season for the San Diego Padres. It certainly has been lately.

The Padres hope to avoid falling further back in the NL West when they open a three-game series Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Padres stretched their win streak to four with a three-game sweep of San Francisco before starting a four-game series Monday at St. Louis.

After splitting the first two games, San Diego managed only one run in losing the final two contests, including a 5-0 defeat Thursday.

The loss dropped the Padres (61-53) three games behind division-leading Arizona, which has won 15 of 18.

San Diego, shut out for the sixth time this season, is 13th in the NL in runs scored (482) and last in the majors in batting average (.243). The team has not scored more than five runs in seven consecutive games.

Brian Giles and Milton Bradley were both missing from the Padres lineup Thursday, further weakening an already struggling offense.

Giles, who left each of the last three games early due to a tender right ankle, was given the night off. Bradley missed his sixth straight start, but could be back in the lineup by the weekend as his right hamstring continues to improve.

Another Padre was injured Thursday when Scott Hairston strained a left side muscle when he was thrown out trying for a double in the sixth inning. He is likely to land on the 15-day disabled list, considering the injury is similar to the one that kept pitcher Chris Young sidelined for more than two weeks.

“It’s almost in an identical spot,” manager Bud Black said. “That’s discouraging.”

What was encouraging for the Padres on Thursday was seeing Young back on the mound. He allowed four runs and three hits in six-plus innings in his return, raising his major league-leading ERA 20 points to 2.02. It was his first loss since May 12.

The Reds were unable to complete a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, falling 5-4 in 11 innings.

Cincinnati (49-65), which had a season high-tying four-game win streak snapped, held the Dodgers scoreless in the first two games of the series.

“That’s one of those games that got away,” interim manager Pete Mackanin said. “You look at the series, we take two out of three. It would’ve been nice to sweep, but they were due to snap out of it.”

Wilfredo Ledezma (0-2, 5.84 ERA) will make his first start of the season for San Diego in place of David Wells, who was designated for assignment on Thursday to make room for Young.

Ledezma is 3-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 37 relief appearances for Detroit, Atlanta and the Padres this year. The left-hander is 8-13 with a 5.56 ERA in 33 career starts, averaging less than five innings in those appearances.

“I’m very excited, because I like to start,” Ledezma told the Padres’ official Web site. “I’m going to do the best I can so that I can keep starting.”

Ledezma, who has never faced the Reds, pitched two scoreless innings Saturday in the Padres’ 3-2, 12-inning victory over San Francisco.

Matt Belisle (6-8, 5.26) looks to build on his first victory in more than two months. Although he wasn’t particularly sharp, the right-hander ended a personal four-game losing streak Friday with a 13-4 win at Pittsburgh. He allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings for his first victory in 11 starts.

Belisle is 0-7 with a 6.67 ERA in 10 home starts since beating Milwaukee on April 17 in his season debut at Great American Ball Park.

He was tagged for a season high-tying seven runs and 10 hits over five innings in a 7-1 loss at San Diego on May 14 in his only career start against the Padres.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Ledezma MIN vs. M. Belisle MIN
3-3 Record 8-9
5.61 ERA 5.32
47 K 125
38 BB 43
1.82 WHIP 1.44