The Los Angeles Dodgers look to win consecutive games for the first time this month when they open a three-game series against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium on Friday.
The Dodgers (37-35) snapped a season-high five-game skid with a 4-2 win over Seattle on Thursday. They have not won two in a row since May 29-30 against Atlanta.
Los Angeles finished May with 18 victories, its most since winning the same amount in 1993, but is 7-12 in June and has lost seven of nine.
Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy makes his returns to Los Angeles after managing the Dodgers the last five seasons. He guided them to a 427-383 mark and the division title in 2004.
Tracy's experience with the Pirates, though, has not gone smoothly so far. His team has lost a season-high eight straight and is in last place in the NL Central. Pittsburgh has not dropped nine in a row since June 5-15, 2004.
The Pirates lost 15-7 to Kansas City on Thursday, and have been outscored 59-33 during their skid.
Friday's scheduled starting pitchers are mired in long losing streaks.
Pittsburgh's Oliver Perez (2-9, 6.10 ERA) has lost four straight starts for the first time in three years, while the Dodgers' Brett Tomko (5-6, 5.45) has dropped five consecutive starts for the first time in his 10-year career.
A big problem facing Pirates pitchers is the defense behind them. Pittsburgh is fourth in the major leagues with 37 unearned runs allowed, and its 52 errors are fourth-most in the NL.
--INF/OF Joel Guzman and SS Chin-lung Hu have been named to the World team for the 20006 All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh July 9. It will be the second appearance for Guzman, who is hitting .289 in Triple-A after a brief stint with the Dodgers. Hu is hitting .266 for Double-A Jacksonville.
BY THE NUMBERS: .351 -- Nomar Garciaparra's batting average when he finally recorded enough plate appearances to enter the NL batting race last week. He was second to the Cardinals' Scott Rolen.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We wanted to get him going as quick as possible, but we think that against Zito, it might not be a good day to try and get him going." -- Manager Grady Little, on why he gave slumping J.D. Drew a extra night off.
RHP Yhency Brazoban had "Tommy John" ligament-replacement surgery. He will not pitch again this season.
INF Cesar Izturis, who had "Tommy John" ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow in September, was activated from the disabled list June 20. He is scheduled for his initial start at third base on June 22.
OF Jayson Werth had wrist surgery in November, and the pins were removed in January. He remains out indefinitely.
RHP Eric Gagne underwent a second surgery on his right elbow April 7, and he returned to the active roster on May 30. When he felt pain again, he went back on the disabled list retroactive to June 7. On June 14, he saw a specialist who found no nerve damage and recommended rest as the best treatment. The team hopes he will return before the All-Star break.
OF Ricky Ledee was placed on the disabled list May 2 because of a torn groin muscle. He took batting practice June 20 and might start a rehab assignment the week of June 26.
CF Jason Repko went on the disabled list May 10 with a sprained left ankle. He took batting practice June 20 but still was only able to jog at half-speed.
3B Bill Mueller was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 12 because of a sore right knee. He had arthroscopic surgery May 15, and he is expected to miss four to six weeks.
RHP Jae Seo left the game June 13 with pain in his pitching shoulder. An exam June 14 found no structural damage, and he was back on the mound June 16.