Dodgers, Padres tangle in LA

( - A pair of teams with struggling offenses get together on Friday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres open a three- game series at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers saw their lead atop the NL West over San Francisco trimmed to 1 1/2 games after the Giants swept a three-game set between the clubs. Los Angeles did not score a single run in the series and has plated just two runs over its last five contests.

L.A. was held in check on Thursday by Madison Bumgarner in a 4-0 loss. Bumgarner logged 6 1/3 scoreless innings and also homered off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw gave up all four runs and fanned seven over 7 1/3 innings, but his offense left 10 men on base and 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position as Los Angeles lost for the sixth time in eight games.

"I thought our at-bats were really good today early, actually all the way through the game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly remarked. "We had a lot of guys out there. We really made Madison pitch. We just weren't able to get the hits to be able to push some runs across."

The Padres have had similar scoring issues, held to two or fewer runs in four of their last six games. They have lost five of six overall and lost Thursday's rubber match of a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs 3-0.

San Diego struck out 32 times in the series, including seven times on Thursday.

"We can't hang our heads," San Diego's Will Middlebrooks, who had two hits on Thursday, said. "We've got a big road (trip) coming up and we'll be facing good pitching."

The Padres certainly square off against a talented pitcher tonight in the Dodgers' Zack Greinke, who is 5-1 with a 1.52 earned run average on the season. He has allowed one or fewer run in six of his eight starts, including both times he has faced the Padres.

Greinke took a no-decision at home versus San Diego on April 7 despite allowing only one run and two hits over six innings. He then beat a hosting Padres club on April 24, striking out seven over seven scoreless innings off four-hit ball.

The right-hander is a perfect 5-0 in nine career starts versus the Padres, pitching to a 1.58 ERA.

Greinke put forth another solid effort last time out on Saturday versus Colorado, but took a tough-luck loss, his first of the season. He yielded one run on four hits, including a solo homer, over six innings, striking out five without a walk. However, the Dodgers didn't do much offensively and the bullpen struggled in a 7-1 defeat.

Andrew Cashner will try to bring his five-start losing streak to an end tonight when he takes the mound for the Padres.

Though he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his eight starts this season, Cashner comes in just 1-7 with a 3.24 ERA. The Padres haven't helped his cause with offensive support, plating just four runs over his five- start slide.

Cashner remained winless since beating the Chicago Cubs on April 19 thanks to Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Washington Nationals. The right-hander was charged with four runs -- three earned -- over six innings, while putting plenty of runners on base in the form of nine hits and a pair of walks.

"They got a hold of a couple of balls there in the first," said Cashner, who struck out six. "I didn't execute early, left a lot of fastballs out over the plate. I just have to be better."

Cashner's shortest start of the season came in his 2015 debut on April 8 against the hosting Dodgers. He yielded six runs, all but one earned, over five innings while serving up three homers -- all to Adrian Gonzalez -- in a 7-4 loss. He pitched much better in a rematch at San Diego on April 24, but still took a 3-0 setback as he yielded two runs over seven frames.

Lifetime versus the Dodgers, the 28-year-old is just 1-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 19 games (8 starts).

The Dodgers have won four of six versus the Padres this season.