With one final road game of the regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers seek back-to-back wins for the first time in almost two weeks when they conclude a three-game series Thursday against the San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers' postseason aspirations are hanging by a thread at 3 1/2 games off the final wild card spot in the National League with seven to play. Their inconsistent ways continued with last night's 8-2 victory at Petco Park, as Matt Kemp finished 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI and Juan Rivera also went deep. Nick Punto posted three hits and scored four times for Los Angeles, which has alternated wins and losses over the past eight games.
"I'm pretty good when I get good pitches to hit," Kemp said. "If I can do that it gives me a chance to do something good for my team. I got a few good pitches and did my thing."
Aaron Harang picked up the win with 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
Los Angeles will close out its nine-game road trip (4-4) this evening and is scheduled to play six home games versus Colorado and San Francisco.
Chris Capuano hopes to keep the Dodgers' hopes alive when he toes the rubber tonight, but is 0-3 in his past seven trips to the hill. Capuano was dealt the loss in a 4-1 decision at Washington last Thursday and yielded four runs -- three earned -- and six hits in five innings.
Capuano, a left-hander, is 11-11 with a 3.74 earned run average in 31 starts and 0-2 in three meetings with San Diego this season. He is 4-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 11 career games (10 starts) against the Padres.
San Diego had a two-game win streak stopped on Wednesday and lost for the fifth time in eight tries.
Yasmani Grandal posted a team-high two hits and drove in a run for the Friars, while Clayton Richard failed in his attempt for a 15th win by giving up six runs -- four earned -- and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
"That was a tough one," Richard said. "You hate putting your team in that type of hole. I made pitches and they didn't work out, and of course I didn't make some pitches and they took advantage. It was a rough day."
The Padres will also welcome San Francisco to town for three games on their homestand and are set to unleash starter Casey Kelly on the Dodgers.
Kelly will make the sixth start of his career and is 2-2 with a 5.55 earned run average over the first five. Kelly lost to the Giants last Friday in a 5-1 setback at AT&T Park and allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings. He has never faced the Dodgers and owns a 2-1 mark in three home starts.
Los Angeles is 10-7 against the Padres this season and had lost three straight and five of the previous six meetings before Wednesday's convincing win.