The Los Angeles Dodgers hope to remain in contention for homefield advantage throughout the National League postseason Wednesday night, when they resume a three-game series against the rival San Francisco Giants.
The Atlanta Braves currently have the edge with a half-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals, but the Dodgers are pushing with three straight wins and four in the previous five games. The NL West-champion Dodgers took Tuesday's opener with the Giants by a 2-1 score thanks to homers by Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig.
Carl Crawford recorded three hits and starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu did his part by striking out six and walking one over seven innings of one-run ball. Ryu scattered four hits and improved to 14-7 on the season.
"We think he's been great all year long. We couldn't have asked for anything more than what he's given us," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Ryu.
Kenley Jansen worked around a hit and struck out two in the ninth for his 28th save.
Los Angeles starter Ricky Nolasco will make his final postseason tuneup Wednesday and is 8-2 in 14 starts with a 3.14 earned run average since coming over via trade from the Miami Marlins. Nolasco was 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA across 10 starts, but is 0-1 in his past two appearances. He did not figure into the decision of a 7-6 win at Arizona last Thursday and permitted six runs and nine hits in five innings.
Nolasco was 5-8 in 18 starts with the Marlins and has faced San Francisco 10 times (all starts), going 5-4 lifetime with a 2.73 ERA.
San Francisco suffered its fourth loss in six tries on Tuesday and starting pitcher Matt Cain was dealt the hard-luck loss. Cain gave up home runs to Kemp and Puig and lasted seven innings on the hill, allowing seven hits with four K's and three walks.
"Cain pitched well. They pitched well, too ... We just couldn't get the bats going," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Angel Pagan led the Giants with two hits and Tony Abreu homered for the defending World Series champions.
With Giants starter Madison Bumgarner shut down for the rest of the season, Barry Zito will take the mound Wednesday in what could be his final appearance with the ballclub. The Giants have a $7 million buyout or an $18 million club option for 2014 on Zito, whose stint with the Giants has been less than impressive. Zito is 62-80 with a 4.63 ERA in San Francisco since the 2007 season and is 4-11 with a 5.91 ERA in 28 games (24 starts) in 2013.
"I wanted to give him one more start this homestand," Bochy told the club's website Tuesday. "Looking at it, we decided tomorrow would be the best time to give him this start. It gives Madison a break and he's done a lot."
Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with Oakland, has lost his last eight decisions and hasn't tasted victory since May 30 versus the Athletics. The left-hander has given up 15 runs in his previous three outings and last toed the rubber Sept. 2 in a 4-1 setback at San Diego, where he was reached for four runs and four hits in four innings. In 27 career meetings, 26 of which have been starts, against L.A., Zito is 9-10 with a 3.65 ERA.
San Francisco leads the season series with Los Angeles, 9-8.
Former Giants closer and current Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson made his return to AT&T Park Tuesday and struck out two in a perfect eighth. Wilson was with the Giants from 2006-12 and recorded the final out of the 2010 World Series. He then underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career last April.