Giants-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

A banged-up Los Angeles Dodgers offense has struggled to score runs recently.

The pitching was even worse Saturday in a historic loss to the San Francisco Giants.

They'll look to Edinson Volquez - who has looked improved since joining the club - to try to salvage a series split at home on Sunday.

Hunter Pence was at the forefront of a 22-hit onslaught in the Giants' 19-3 victory on Saturday - the most runs ever allowed by Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.

"This was one of those games. We've probably had four or five of them all year," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I think it's probably a lot easier to write one of these off than it is to blow a two-run lead in the ninth, a game you really should have won. We really didn't have a chance to win this game."

Pence was 3 for 5 with a grand slam and a career-high seven RBIs, while Brandon Belt also registered career highs with five hits and six runs driven in. Pence is batting .431 over his last 14 games with seven homers - including three over his last three contests - and 22 RBIs.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers' (86-62) magic number remained at four with Arizona's 9-2 victory over Colorado. They were without Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez - in addition to Matt Kemp's continued absence - and have scored nine runs over their last four games. While they're batting a solid .254 in those contests, they've also stranded 34 runners are 3 for 28 with runners in scoring position.

Ethier left Friday's game and is likely to miss a couple contests as he deals with shin splints, according to the team's official website, while Ramirez will miss at least Sunday's game due to an irritated nerve in his back. Kemp, who is trying to come back from a sprained ankle, is set to be evaluated by the team on Monday.

Volquez (9-11, 5.99 ERA) struggled mightily in 27 starts for San Diego earlier this year, going 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA. After being picked up as a free agent on Aug. 30, he was solid in his second start for Los Angeles, giving up three runs and four hits over six innings of a 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

He's walked one batter in 10 innings with the Dodgers after averaging 4.36 walks per nine innings with the Padres.

"Tonight everything was great," he told the team's official website. "Finally I brought everything I was doing in the bullpen with the pitching coach into the game and was consistent in the strike zone. I'm more confident now. My fastball command was better."

The Giants (68-81) will counter with Ryan Vogelsong (3-5, 5.82), who gave up a season-high seven runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings of a 10-9 win over the Dodgers on May 4.

Vogelsong has allowed 12 runs and seven walks in his last three starts, spanning 15 2-3 innings.

Pence is just 5 for 31 off Volquez with 15 strikeouts.

Despite being 18 1/2 games behind Los Angeles, San Francisco owns an 8-7 edge in the season series. After Sunday, the teams will meet three more times at AT&T Park from Sept. 24-26.

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