Kershaw tasked with stopping surging Padres

Clayton Kershaw tries to slow down the red-hot San Diego Padres on Friday when the Los Angeles Dodgers continue a four-game set against their National League West rivals at Petco Park.

San Diego stayed hot in Thursday's opener, as Pedro Ciriaco went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI to lead the Padres to a 6-3 win.

Ciriaco also had an RBI triple and scored twice, while Logan Forsythe and Chase Headley added one RBI apiece for the Padres, who have won eight of their last 10 games to move within 2 1/2 games of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the division lead.

"A moving bat is dangerous. He got a high sinker and put it in the seats. Pedro is doing fine," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Jason Marquis worked six strong innings, giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out five. Nick Vincent (2-0) picked up the win after working one scoreless inning in relief.

Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis both hit solo homers and Juan Uribe drove in a run for the Dodgers, who have dropped eight of their last 11 games.

Matt Guerrier (2-3) was pegged with the loss after giving up a pair of runs in the seventh inning.

"We just couldn't get the outs we needed late in the game. Matt has been throwing the ball well, about as well as anyone out there. We just don't get the outs we need," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

Now Kershaw takes the hill searching for his first win in six starts. Kershaw is 0-2 in that span and did not get a decision on Saturday in Pittsburgh, despite a solid outing that saw him surrender just a run and three hits in seven innings. The bullpen eventually blew it for him and the Dodgers went on to lose, 5-3, in 11 innings.

"It's a little disappointing that he didn't get the win because he deserved it," outfielder Andre Ethier said of Kershaw. "When you see them score a run in the ninth, it's a little sickening feeling that one got away from him."

The former NL Cy Young Award winning left-hander, who is 5-4 with a 1.84 ERA on the year, has allowed one earned run or less nine times, but his teammates have managed just 24 runs in those games, and he has received four no- decisions.

Kershaw has lost twice already this season to the Padres, but is 8-5 lifetime against them with a 2.44 ERA in 19 starts.

San Diego, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Clayton Richard, who is 2-5 with a 7.01 ERA. Richard was brilliant on Sunday against Arizona, as he gave up just a run and seven hits in eight innings.

"Clayton threw extremely well," Black said. "I thought he had good command of the fastball down in the zone, which is something he hasn't always had this season. He had good action with all of his pitches, which is what we expect of him every time out."

Richard has faced the Dodgers 15 times and is 6-3 with a 3.67 ERA.

San Diego has won six of its 10 matchups with the Dodgers this season.