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Preview: Giants Face Dodgers, Try To Avoid Sweep

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will try for their first sweep of the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park since the 2007 campaign when the two NL West rivals collide this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series.

Los Angeles has recorded consecutive 4-2 wins in this series and hasn't swept the Giants as the guest since taking all three matchups from April 6-8, 2007. Dodgers rookie John Ely posted the win and held the Giants to a run on five hits and three walks over seven innings.

"I've struggled in the past, but I've learned with the struggles that you get through it," Ely said on the team's site. "I know for a fact that no matter what level, it's still baseball. I know I'll get through it, I have in the past."

James Loney had two hits and drove in three runs, Rafael Furcal added three hits and Matt Kemp went 2-for-4 after replacing Manny Ramirez, who left in the first inning because of a right hamstring injury. Ramirez is day-to-day and a possible stint on the disabled list may be looming for the right fielder.

The Dodgers pulled within three games of San Diego for the top spot in the NL West Division and have won four of six games. They are 20-5 against division foes this season.

LA will send Vicente Padilla to the mound on Wednesday and he is just 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA in six starts this season. Hampered by an arm problem earlier this season, Padilla was sidelined for almost two months before returning in a loss at Boston back on June 19. He allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings that day for the no-decision.

In his most recent start last Friday in a 2-1 setback versus the New York Yankees, Padilla suffered the loss for allowing both runs in seven frames. The right-hander, who is 0-1 in four road starts this season, defeated San Francisco back on April 16 in a 10-8 win. He held the Giants to three runs over seven innings for his first win of 2010. Padilla is 5-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 12 career meetings (9 starts) with the Giants.

San Francisco has lost four in a row and six of seven games. In last night's second straight two-run loss, Matt Cain was baffled by the Dodgers once again and suffered the loss for giving up four runs in five innings of work. Cain is now a dreadful 0-8 in 14 career starts against Los Angeles.

"Definitely not lack of focus," Cain said of his woes in this series. "We're trying to get things done. Sometimes that gets the best of you. It happens with us on the mound. You get excited in certain situations and you leave a pitch up, you don't get things done. That's usually how ballgames are won."

Pat Burrell went 2-for-3 with a home run for the Giants, who fell 4 1/2 games off the lead in the division standings. San Francisco is 1-4 on a six-game homestand and dropped to 8-16 against NL West opponents this season. On a brighter note, the Giants are 15-8 in their last 23 home games.

Jonathan Sanchez will handle pitching duties for the Giants today and is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his last six starts. Sanchez won his most recent start last Friday in a 5-4 victory versus Boston, as he surrendered three runs in 5 1/3 innings to improve to 6-5 in 15 starts this season.

Sanchez, who is 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA in eight home starts, has never beaten the Dodgers in his career. In 11 career matchups, eight of which have been starts, the lefty is 0-4 with a 5.95 earned run average against Los Angeles.

Last year Sanchez went 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers.

Los Angeles took two of three meetings with the Giants at Chavez Ravine back in April and has won 10 of the past 14 contests between the clubs.