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09/22/10 7:38 PM ET

Back in first place, Padres seek sweep in LA

There's a giant crowd at the top of the National League West.


After San Diego's 3-1 victory over Los Angeles and San Francisco's 2-0 loss to the Chicago on Wednesday, the Padres moved back into first place over the Giants by a half-game.

But there are still 11 days left in the regular season.

Padres starter Mat Latos, who goes to the mound in Thursday's series finale in Los Angeles, could be a difference-maker. The Padres sure hope so as they seek a sweep of the Dodgers. The right-hander suffered the worst loss of his young career in his last start against the Cardinals, allowing eight runs in 1 1/3 innings. He has allowed 13 earned runs in his last two starts.

"Fatigue is not a factor," Latos said. "I was still throwing 97 [mph]. My body feels great, my arm feels fine." As for the Dodgers, they've been out of the playoff race for several weeks but still have plenty to play for this season.

"I think we knew we were eliminated before [Tuesday]," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "As I say, the only thing that we have, and I bring it up at the meetings, was the fact that it's our job to come out here and beat this ballclub and do everything we can to win games against this club and against Colorado next week."

After the series with the Padres, the Dodgers will travel to Arizona this weekend. Clayton Kershaw's scheduled start has been moved up to Friday against the D-backs from Saturday, which will allow him to pitch the finale of a three-game set in Colorado next Wednesday. Ted Lilly is to open the Rockies series on Monday and Hiroki Kuroda is to pitch Tuesday.

Torre made no excuses. He said his team was simply not good enough this year.

"The letdown for us is when we just couldn't get any traction and we couldn't go anywhere and we realized games were being eliminated and we weren't gaining ground, in fact we were losing ground," the manager said. "Even though officially we were eliminated [Tuesday], emotionally we knew there were too many teams to climb over."

Padres: Bell notches career high in saves
Heath Bell pitched a scoreless ninth inning Wednesday to establish a new career high with 43 saves. Bell trails San Francisco's Brian Wilson by one save for the NL lead. ... Luke Gregerson tossed a perfect seventh inning Wednesday to set a new Major League record with 37 holds for the season, passing the 36 holds of Scott Linebrink (2006 with Padres) and Tom Gordon (2004 with Yankees). .. Right-handed pitcher Cesar Carrillo was claimed off outright waivers by the Houston Astros. He was designated for assignment by the Padres last Saturday. ... San Diego bench coach Ted Simmons, first-base coach Rick Renteria and hitting coach Randy Ready could potentially be in line for interviews for openings in Seattle, Atlanta, Florida and other teams that might be looking for a new manager in 2011.

Dodgers: Kuroda solid despite record
It's been a tricky season for Kuroda. He has a respectable 3.36 ERA but a 10-13 record. His last start, opposite Ubaldo Jimenez, wasn't his best, but he still struck out seven and was charged with just three runs in the loss. ... Andre Ethier went 2-for-4 on Wednesday for his 40th multi-hit game of the season. It's the third straight season that Ethier has had at least 40 multi-hit games, including a career-high 48 last season.

Worth noting
Miguel Tejada's two-run home run in the third inning Wednesday was No. 300 of his career. He is the 22nd active player to reach the 300-home run plateau and 129th player overall to reach the milestone. The home run was Tejada's eighth since he joined the Padres on July 29 in a trade with the Orioles. He hit seven home runs in 97 games with Baltimore.

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