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Dodgers continue playoff push versus Marlins

The Los Angeles Dodgers' roster could look significantly different by the conclusion of the weekend.

Things looked just fine for the playoff contenders in the opener of their three-game series with the Miami Marlins and the Dodgers seek a second straight victory on Saturday night.

Los Angeles took the field for Friday's opener under the cloud of a massive trade rumor. Reports surfaced that the Dodgers claimed both Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and starting pitcher Josh Beckett off waivers and that the clubs were working out a deal that would send the two -- as well as injured outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto -- out west in exchange for Dodgers first baseman James Loney and minor leaguers.

The teams would have until Sunday to work out a trade and Loney was held out of Friday's starting lineup.

Los Angeles then went out and slugged its way to an 11-4 victory, rebounding from a three-game sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants thanks to home runs from Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez and Juan Rivera. The Dodgers' deficit behind the first-place Giants remained at three games and they also sit 1 1/2 games out of a wild card spot.

The trade rumors seem to indicate that L.A. is going all in for 2012.

"Everybody knows what is in the works," said Ethier. "We'll see what happens (Saturday)."

The Dodgers picked up the needed win despite losing starter Chad Billingsley after just 3 1/3 innings due to a sore right elbow. The 28-year-old righty already endured a stint on the 15-day disabled list this season due to right elbow inflammation and hasn't lost since his return on July 23.

"I threw a cutter and something happened," said Billingsley, who had won six straight starts. "I'm not feeling too good. The MRI showed inflammation so I guess that's good news. They told me to let it rest and we'll go from there."

Jamey Wright earned the win after allowing three hits -- including a solo homer by Giancarlo Stanton -- over 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Nathan Eovaldi, acquired from the Dodgers in the Ramirez trade last month, was charged with six runs on seven hits over three innings in the loss, Miami's third in a row.

"I think their bullpen did a good job and their offense just kept at it," Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano said. "Gotta give them all the credit really, they just outplayed us."

Lost in the trade talks is a potentially outstanding pitching matchup tonight between the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Josh Johnson of the Marlins.

Kershaw is 11-7 with a 2.87 earned run average in 26 starts this season and had a four-game win streak halted on Monday with a tough-luck loss to the Giants. He suffered a 2-1 setback after allowing two runs on six hits over eight innings with 10 strikeouts.

The 24-year-old southpaw and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner beat the Marlins during his recent win streak on Aug. 10, giving up two runs over 6 1/3 frames.

Johnson takes the hill hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss as the Marlins have been outscored 10-3 over his personal slide. The righty himself has allowed seven runs over 21 innings in that span.

Johnson lost at the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks over seven frames, falling to 7-10 with a 3.73 ERA in 25 starts.

The 28-year-old is 3-1 in six career starts against the Dodgers with a 4.76 ERA.

The Dodgers took two of three from the Marlins earlier in the year.