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Dodgers hope to get playoff push on track in San Diego

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly described his club's recent loss to the San Diego Padres as "lousy."

Whether that sinks in with the team remains to be seen, but the Dodgers' chances of making a playoff push are weakening by the day. The Dodgers will try and bounce back tonight in the middle portion of a three-game set with the NL West-rival Padres at Petco Park.

Josh Beckett was on the hill for L.A. and was saddled with the loss for giving up two runs -- one earned -- and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. It wasn't all Beckett's fault, as the offense failed to produce runs with a 10-5 advantage in hits.

Luis Cruz had three of those hits and scored a run, while A.J. Ellis recorded an RBI for the Dodgers, who have alternated wins and losses in the past seven games and are 4 1/2 games off the final wild card spot with eight to play.

"It's a lousy loss," Mattingly said afterward. "We had a chance to get back in it at the end, to tie it and extend the game. I know that's not the way to play it. But we didn't do enough to win the game."

Aaron Harang was slated to pitch Sunday at Cincinnati just in case Clayton Kershaw couldn't shake off a hip ailment, but the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner was able to throw five innings of one-run ball.

Harang now gets the nod on six days' rest and looks to end a personal five- start winless (0-3) streak. He lasted 4 1/3 innings in a 3-1 loss at Washington last Wednesday and yielded two runs and seven hits. Harang, who has allowed at least two runs in five straight and nine of 10 starts, is 9-10 in 29 outings to go along with a 3.80 earned run average.

The right-hander is 1-1 in five matchups with the Padres this season and 4-5 with a 3.97 ERA in 15 career games (14 starts) against them.

San Diego would enjoy ruining the Dodgers' chances of reaching the postseason and will continue its final homestand of the season.

In last night's one-run victory, Logan Forsythe scored on a fielder's choice and Will Venable crossed the plate on Beckett's throwing error after a bunt single by Everth Cabrera.

Edinson Volquez pitched seven shutout innings to even his record at 11-11, while Huston Street notched his 23rd save even though he allowed two hits and a run in the ninth inning.

"Everything is working," said Volquez. "My fastball command is better, my curve, my change-up, everything is better."

The Padres also will host NL West-champion San Francisco on the residency.

Left-hander Clayton Richard will try to push his win total to a career-high 15 games when he takes the mound for the Friars tonight. Richard is 5-0 with a 3.38 earned run average in his last six starts -- all San Diego wins -- and held on for a win at Arizona his previous time out on Thursday. In a 6-5 victory in the desert, Richard allowed four runs in six innings.

The 14 wins ties his career high from 2010, when Richard went 14-9 in 33 starts.

Richard is 7-1 in his last eight decisions and 8-4 in 13 home starts this season. He is 2-1 in five outings against the Dodgers in 2012 and 6-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 12 career starts in this series.

Los Angeles is 9-7 against the Padres this season, but has lost three straight and five of the previous six meetings between the NL West foes.