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ARI@LAD: Volquez fans five through six strong frames

The Dodgers are in an unusual position two weeks into September. After going 19-5 in July and 23-6 in August, the team is just 6-7 this month.

Even with such frustrating figures and a 19-3 loss to the Giants on Saturday, the team's magic number to clinch the National League West is still just four. The Dodgers will look to get closer to that feat Sunday when they take on the Giants in the series finale at Chavez Ravine.

Edinson Volquez will be on the hill for Los Angeles, making his third start and fourth appearance as a Dodger. He took a no-decision Tuesday against the D-backs, allowing three runs on four hits in six innings of work.

"Tonight everything was great," Volquez said after the start. "Finally I brought everything I was doing in the bullpen with the pitching coach into the game and was consistent in the strike zone. I'm more confident now. My fastball command was better."

In three starts against the Giants this season, all with the Padres, Volquez is 0-1 with a 7.31 ERA. He hasn't beaten San Francisco since Aug. 28, 2008, a span of seven starts.

Meanwhile, Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is looking to bounce back after two straight rough outings. In that stretch, his ERA is 8.38 and opponents are batting .381 against him.

Facing the Rockies on Tuesday, he allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings of work for the no-decision. In the start before that, he surrendered four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings to Arizona for the loss.

Vogelsong will make his 10th career start against the Dodgers, going 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA. In one start against them earlier this season, the right-hander allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings for the no-decision.

Giants: Decision on Gaudin delayed
San Francisco delayed its decision on the playing status of right-hander Chad Gaudin on Saturday. The team did that partly because he will not be ready to pitch until Monday.

While Gaudin has relieved and started this season, manager Bruce Bochy indicated that the longer Gaudin remains inactive, the more likely it is that he'll return as a reliever if and when he's activated from the disabled list.

Gaudin, who was sidelined with carpal tunnel syndrome, has not pitched since Aug. 16 at Miami. He threw a simulated game Friday.

Dodgers: Ethier out of lineup
While Andre Ethier said his left ankle felt "good" after irritating it on a double in the eighth inning of Friday's game, manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that the outfielder will be out of the lineup for a few days.

"It will be at least a couple days before we use him," Mattingly said. "We'll see where he goes. He's pretty sore today. We're going to be cautious with him."

Mattingly said Ethier had an MRI exam and X-ray on his ankle earlier in the week, which did not reveal any structural damage. Ethier walked out of the clubhouse Saturday night with a protective boot over his left foot.

The Dodgers promoted outfielders Alex Castellanos and Nick Buss from Triple-A Albuquerque before Saturday's game in a roster move Mattingly described as "protection" while Ethier is out.

Worth noting
• The Dodgers have not lost a series to a division opponent since dropping two of three games to the D-backs from June 10-12.

• Giants right-fielder Hunter Pence has eight home runs in his last 18 games. He has a total of 23 long balls this season.

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