Skaggs takes mound as D-backs try to avoid sweep

STATS Senior Writer

A game from getting back to .500 for the first time since April, the surging Los Angeles Dodgers continue to close the gap on the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks.

With talented rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound, the visiting Dodgers go for their first series sweep of the Diamondbacks in three years Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (44-45) has won three straight and 14 of 17. It last sat at .500 when it was 13-13 on April 30. The Dodgers are 2 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks (47-43), who were last swept by their division rival twice during the 2010 season.

Adrian Gonzalez drove in three runs and Ricky Nolasco threw seven strong innings in his team debut Tuesday in Los Angeles’ second straight 6-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

“It just gives you more confidence when you’re adding it to (Clayton) Kershaw, (Zack) Greinke and Hyun-Jin, three pretty kind of top-notch guys there at the top of the rotation,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Then to add Ricky, if he can pitch like this, every time you go out there you think you’ve got a good chance to win.”

Gonzalez is batting .410 with eight RBI during a 10-game hitting streak versus Arizona.

Hanley Ramirez’s 19-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 performance Tuesday night. The veteran infielder is still batting .462 in his last 21 games.

Ryu (7-3, 2.82 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.21 ERA in his last three starts after he allowing two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 10-2 win at San Francisco on Friday.

“I changed my delivery a little and the outcome was not too bad,” he told the Dodgers’ official website. “Everything worked out.”

The left-hander is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Diamondbacks this year.

Martin Prado had an RBI and one of the five hits for Arizona, which has managed only two runs and nine hits in the first two games of the series.

All-Star Paul Goldschmidt is 10 for 24 in the last six games. He’s hit .362 against the Dodgers this season, and is 3 for 6 with a double versus Ryu.

Scheduled Arizona starter Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 3.65) looks to build on his fourth start of the season. Hours after the left-hander was recalled from Triple-A Reno, he allowed three hits in eight innings of a 5-0 victory over Colorado on Friday.

“I feel awesome,” said Skaggs, who was sent down June 10 after he yielded five runs each in consecutive starts. “It’s great. To be up here this young is a dream come true.”

Skaggs, a southern California native who turns 22 on Saturday, gave up a home run to Ramirez in five innings while not factoring in the decision of a 2-1 loss at Dodger Stadium in Sept. 1.