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09/21/10 7:33 PM ET

In heat of race, Stauffer shines for Padres

The Padres are in the heat of the pennant race, hoping that they can string together wins while the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies lose and they can reclaim the top spot in the National League West that they held for most of the season.

And when San Diego plays in Los Angeles on Wednesday in the second game of a three-game set against the Dodgers, with Tim Stauffer on the hill for the Padres against Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly, it will be facing a team that has already been eliminated from postseason contention.

For San Diego, the responsibility for getting the game off to a good start will rest in the right hand of Stauffer, the long-reliever-turned-spot-starter-turned-huge-factor-down-the-stretch who has shined on the road this year.

In his last start, Stauffer entered the sixth inning having allowed one run on four hits in St. Louis against the Cardinals.

"Overall, he was really good," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "He worked both sides of the plate and was using all his pitches."

But Stauffer gave up another run in the sixth and didn't get a run of support from the Padres' offense and ended up taking the loss.

Still, he's gone 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts and pitched well against the Dodgers on Sept. 6 at PETCO Park, giving up one run on four hits in four innings in a no-decision. San Diego has won each of his last three starts against the Dodgers since Aug. 21, 2006.

For the Dodgers, the playoffs won't be a reality, but the club can still impact the pennant race by playing spoiler. It's not lost on outgoing manager Joe Torre.

"It's really all that's left for us," Torre said. "And in our division we're pretty lucky, because we have three of them. And again, if I'm sitting in one of those other dugouts or clubhouse now in San Francisco or Colorado, and I'm hoping we're going to play like [heck] to beat them. That's only fair."

Padres: Ludwick picking it up
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick has tallied four multi-hit games over the current road trip, going 11-for-30 (.367) with one home run, nine RBIs, two runs scored and four walks since Sept. 13. ... Dating to Sept. 8, outfielder Will Venable has hit safely in nine of his 12 games with an at-bat. Over that stretch, he has six multi-hit games total and is hitting .447 (17-for-38) and has lifted his season average from .219 (on Sept. 7) to .243.

Dodgers: Lilly looking to bounce back
Lilly lost his third straight decision Thursday at San Francisco, allowing six runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings in his shortest start of the season, a 10-2 loss. He did not issue a walk, struck out three, allowed two home runs and threw 68 pitches. Lilly is 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in his career against the Padres. In his only start of 2010 against San Diego, he allowed one run on two hits over seven innings in the Dodgers' 2-1 win on Aug. 3 at Dodger Stadium. ... Reliever Kenley Jansen is limiting right-handed batters to a .071 average (3-for-42) and batters are hitting .135 (10-for-74) overall against him.

Worth noting
Padres reliever Luke Gregerson recorded his 36th hold of the season Saturday and is tied for the Major League record for holds in a season. He is tied with both Scott Linebrink (2006 with the Padres) and Tom Gordon (2004 with the Yankees). ... Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis has hits in 10 of his last 14 at-bats (.714) over the previous five games and has seen his batting average climb from .205 to .287 over that time. He is hitting .408 (20-for-49) in 17 home games.

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