(SportsNetwork.com) - It's up to Dan Haren to keep the pitching prowess going for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as he takes the mound Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
The Dodgers have won three in a row thanks to excellent pitching from starters Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and ace Clayton Kershaw. Ryu and Greinke both tossed six innings of one-run ball against Colorado and Kershaw polished off the sweep with the first no-hitter of his career in Wednesday's 8-0 win.
Just less than a month after rotation mate Josh Beckett pitched a no-hitter in Philadelphia on May 25, Kershaw struck out a career-best 15 batters and did not allow a walk. Kershaw's bid for a perfect game was dashed when shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed a two-base throwing error in the seventh inning.
"As far as individual games, this is pretty special," said Kershaw. "I'll remember this for the rest of my life. Get to do it at home, it's even better. It's amazing."
Kershaw, who improved to 12-5 lifetime against the Rockies, became the first Dodgers left-hander to throw a no-hitter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1990.
Los Angeles has won three straight, five of six and eight of its last 11 games, and was led by Matt Kemp, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Miguel Rojas had a three-run double in a five-run third inning and Adrian Gonzalez posted two hits and two RBI.
The Dodgers are now four games behind San Francisco for the NL West lead and the Giants are mired in a five-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, Haren now has tough shoes to fill on the mound and is 7-4 with a 3.54 ERA. He put the brakes on a four-start winless drought (0-3) with back- to-back wins over Cincinnati and Arizona, and gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-4 win versus the D-backs on Saturday.
The right-hander is 4-3 in seven road starts this season and 6-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 17 career games (16 starts) against San Diego. Haren defeated San Diego at Petco Park on April 2 in a 5-1 win and was reached for only an unearned run and four hits in six innings.
San Diego earned a split of a four-game series versus the Seattle Mariners with Thursday's 4-1 win in the finale of a home-and-home set.
The Padres rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Cameron Maybin started the scoring with an RBI triple and later scored on Chris Denorfia's pinch-hit single. Everth Cabrera then plated two more runs with a base hit and the Padres won for the second straight night after losing three straight and eight of nine.
The rally came after Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez exited the game after hurling six shutout innings. Dominic Leone was the unfortunate losing pitcher.
"We couldn't get to Ramirez for whatever reason," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Then they made a pitching change and we got some things going."
Black's club has scored six runs in the last two games after compiling just three in the previous three contests. The Padres are last in the majors in runs scored with 216, RBI (203), on-base percentage (.274), slugging percentage (.338) and batting average (.214).
Padres starting pitcher Jesse Hahn won his second career game by giving up one unearned run in seven innings with seven K's and two walks.
In other team news, first baseman Yonder Alonso was placed on the disabled list Thursday with right hand tendinitis. He is hitting .210 with five home runs and 22 RBI this season.
The last time San Diego won three in a row was during a four-game run from May 9-13.
Ian Kennedy draws the start for the Padres Friday and will try to cool down the confident Dodgers. Kennedy has a 5-8 record and 3.72 earned run average this season and has lost two straight and five of his last eight decisions, including Sunday's 3-1 loss against the New York Mets.
Kennedy permitted all three runs in 5 1/3 innings, one start after surrendering five runs in seven innings of a 5-2 loss at Philadelphia on June 10. He has been touched for 10 runs in the last three starts.
The right-hander and former All-Star is 2-5 in eight home appearances and lost his only start to the Dodgers this season on April 1. In the 3-2 defeat at home, Kennedy gave up all three runs in five innings of work, falling to 5-5 in 12 career starts in this series with a 4.21 ERA.
LA won two of three games at San Diego to start the season and is 9-2 in the previous 11 matchups in the series.