Dodgers-Giants Preview

The Associated Press

In the short time since he's joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hanley Ramirez has made a big impact. The San Francisco Giants have similar hopes for their newest addition.

Ramirez and the Dodgers look to cut another game off the Giants' NL West lead on Saturday.

Los Angeles is looking to regain a share of the division lead this weekend after falling out of first July 14. It got off to a good start with a 5-3 win in 10 innings Friday.

Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the 10th as the Dodgers (54-47) snapped a three-game skid and moved within two games of the Giants. Los Angeles had been swept in its last visit to AT&T Park, failing to score a run in that three-game series in late June.

With his home run Friday, Ramirez is 4 for 11 with three RBIs and three runs in three games with the Dodgers since he was acquired from Miami earlier this week.

''It's why I'm here,'' Ramirez said. ''Manny Mota spoke to me and told me, 'Don't try to do too much. Just do what you know how to do.' Every day he comes and talks to me. I have a lot to learn from him.''

The loss was the second in a row for San Francisco (55-44), which acquired Marco Scutaro from Colorado on Friday in an effort to add infield depth.

Although he wouldn't figure to have the same impact as Ramirez - a former batting champion and three-time All-Star - Scutaro is a versatile player who was hitting .271 with four homers and 30 RBIs in 95 games for the Rockies. He made 65 stats at second and 25 at shortstop.

''It's no secret we were looking for depth and experience,'' Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. ''This guy is a starting player on both sides of the bag.''

The addition of Scutaro should help the Giants, who rank near the bottom of the majors in runs per game, fill the void left by Pablo Sandoval, who has missed the last two games with a strained left hamstring.

Hoping to avoid their second three-game losing streak this month, the Giants will hand the ball to Barry Zito (8-6 3.75 ERA), who has a 2.25 ERA over his last five starts.

The left-hander allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings at Philadelphia on Sunday in a 4-3, 12-inning loss.

He has split two starts against the Dodgers this season. Zito was outstanding in an 8-0 home win on June 25, earning his first victory over Los Angeles since May 2009.

Matt Kemp has had his way with Zito, batting .449 (22 of 49) with two homers in their matchups. He went 0 for 5 Friday and is 1 for his last 17.

Andre Ethier, though, is 6 for 35 (.171) off Zito.

The Dodgers counter with Chad Billingsley (5-9, 4.15), who tries to build off his first win in six starts.

Billingsley was sharp in a 5-3 win over St. Louis on Monday, allowing one run in six innings to snap a personal five-game losing streak. He hadn't pitched since July 7 after landing on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation.

The right-hander has lost his last four decisions at AT&T Park, where he hasn't won since July 2007.

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