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05/18/10 9:41 PM ET

Dodgers have first place within reach

The National League West-rival Padres and Dodgers sure didn't have to wait too long between meetings.

After all, the clubs will face off in a rare two-game set at Dodger Stadium that begins on Wednesday, just three days after the Dodgers finished off a three-game sweep over the Padres at PETCO Park.

Los Angeles enters red-hot, as it has won nine in a row and has a chance to pass San Diego in the standings by series end, as the Dodgers are just one game back of the division-leading Padres.

Wednesday's matchup will have a familiar feel, as it features the same starting pitchers from Friday's game. Padres right-hander Jon Garland will take the mound against Dodgers right-hander Ramon Ortiz.

Garland actually fared well in his start on Friday. He allowed two runs over six innings but was saddled with the no-decision after reliever Luke Gregerson lost the lead on a two-run homer to Matt Kemp.

Garland struggled with his control, however, as he walked four and needed 111 pitches to get through six innings.

"Way too many balls, way too many walks," Garland said. "I gave them too many opportunities. It definitely seemed like a big struggle out there."

Ortiz, meanwhile, didn't fare as well in his first Major League start in nearly three seasons, as he allowed three runs over four innings, but Dodgers manager Joe Torre liked how he minimized the damage. Besides, the pitching-starved Dodgers' only other option would be rookie Rule 5 selection Carlos Monasterios, who made a spot start on May 1.

"We started Monasterios one time and had Ortiz behind him," Torre said. "When [Ortiz] gave us 80-plus pitches [Friday], we had a better feel for what we'd get out of him."

The start was a nice change of pace for Ortiz, who posted a 5.16 ERA in 14 relief outings, as he has made 211 starts and just 62 relief appearances during his career.

"I feel good both ways, but I'm used to a starting rotation and I know what I have to do," Ortiz said. "I spend more time working on my legs and the lower half of my body, more running. When you're a reliever, you might pitch any day, so you can't do that much work. But it doesn't matter. Whatever opportunity they give me, I give thanks for that."

Padres: Time for a quick rebound
The Padres are coming off a tough loss against the Giants on Tuesday, as they blew a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning and ultimately lost the game, 7-6, in the 12th inning.

Dodgers: Mixed reports on the shelf
The Dodgers received good news about right-hander Vicente Padilla on Tuesday but not so good news regarding shortstop Rafael Furcal's hamstring. Padilla, who is expected back sometime in June, threw off the mound for the first time since being placed on the disabled list on April 23 with an irritated radial nerve in his right arm and reported no discomfort after throwing 20 fastballs. Furcal, who was expected to rejoin the club last Friday, said his hamstring is still not at 100 percent and it's still unclear when he'll return.

Worth noting
The Dodgers' three-game sweep over the Padres over the weekend marked the first time the Padres had lost three straight all season. ... The Dodgers are 12-3 against the NL West and 9-14 against the rest of the league. The Padres are 13-10 against the NL West and 10-6 against everyone else. ... The Padres' loss to the Giants on Tuesday marked their first loss against San Francisco this season, as they had won their previous seven meetings.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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