Preview Los Angeles at Atlanta
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will try to improve the National League's best record when they go for another win over the Atlanta Braves Tuesday in the continuation of a four-game series at Turner Field.
The Dodgers are 68-52 this season and posted a 6-2 win against the Braves in Monday's series opener. Kevin Correia made his Los Angeles debut after a trade with Minnesota this weekend and delivered six solid innings on the hill, allowing only one run and four hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
"(Correia) threw the ball great," Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "It was a good game all around for us."
Correia helped his own cause with two hits and a run scored. Carl Crawford drove in a run during a three-run sixth inning and finished with three hits, two RBI and a run scored for the NL West-leading Dodgers, winners in four of six on this nine-game trip and 12 of the past 17 games overall.
Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig had two hits apiece, while Puig scored twice in his return to the lineup. Puig missed a game to rest a sore back and was 0-for-8 in his last two games played. Gonzalez has multi-hit performances in each of his last five games.
The Dodgers are 38-25 on the road and five games ahead of San Francisco for the NL West lead. The Giants have lost four in a row and will open a two-game series with the Chicago White Sox tonight.
Dan Haren will try to keep the Dodgers on track when he makes his 24th start of the season Tuesday. Haren was sharp in his last outing, a 2-1 road win against the L.A. Angels, and held the Halos to a run and three hits across 7 1/3 innings. Haren is 9-9 this season with a 4.57 ERA.
Haren, who ended a personal five-game losing streak in Anaheim, is 5-6 in 13 road starts and 5-2 with a 4.68 ERA in nine career games (8 starts) against the Braves. The right-hander has recorded a 3-1 mark to go along with a 5.04 ERA in five games (4 starts) lifetime at Turner Field.
Atlanta fell back into the loss column last night and is now four games behind Washington for the NL East lead. The Nationals will begin a three-game series against the New York Mets tonight.
Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran continued his recent struggles on the mound and allowed five runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two batters, falling to 10-9 in his third straight loss.
Freddie Freeman had two hits and a run scored, while Justin Upton and Evan Gattis had an RBI apiece for the Braves, losers in 10 of 12 games. The Braves had just six hits on the night and are 2-2 so far on a 10-game homestand.
"We didn't really string together any hits," said Braves outfielder B.J. Upton, who had one of the hits in defeat.
Freeman is riding a five-game hitting streak and has three multi-hit efforts in that span. Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella left Monday's game in the second inning with a cramp in his right hamstring and could return tonight.
"Unless I wake up with unexpected soreness or anything like that, I should be good to go for tomorrow," La Stella said afterward.
Emilio Bonifacio moved from shortstop to second base and Ramiro Pena entered to fill the shortstop role when La Stella exited. The Braves are already without shortstop Andrelton Simmons because of an ankle issue and could return soon, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez.
"He's getting close," Gonzalez said. "If it's not (Tuesday), it will be Wednesday. But at the very least, he is progressing well."
Simmons said he is "ready to go" and is batting .249 with five homers and 36 RBI this season. He hasn't played since last Tuesday at Seattle.
Mike Minor will start for Atlanta Tuesday and is just 4-7 with a 5.42 earned run average. Minor has alternated decisions in his last five and was handed the loss on Aug. 1 in a 10-1 setback at San Diego, where he allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. His last scheduled start was skipped.
"I've been struggling lately because I feel like I've been trying to place (pitches) a little bit more, instead of throwing," Minor said. "I think if I take care of that, I'll be OK."
Minor has given up five or more runs three times in his last four appearances and is only 2-5 in nine starts at Turner Field this season. The lefty has a 1-1 mark and a 2.32 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles swept a three-game series with the Braves in late July and has won six of the last eight meetings between the two ballclubs.