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SF@LAD: Lilly strikes out six over six innings

In the eyes of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, the difference between his club's slow start last season and its Major League-best start this year isn't much.

The Dodgers were 21-28 last year on May 23, but just a year later they are 30-14 and have won six in a row.

"I think we're playing almost the same way we played early last year, we just weren't getting runs early last year," he said. "We played good defense last year. Our bullpen was a mess early, but we played the same game. We just didn't get the big hit we're getting now. [Pitching coach Rick] Honeycutt told me last year that in our first 90 games, we scored three runs or less 60 times. Hard to win those games."

With veteran lefty Ted Lilly on the mound on Wednesday, a pitcher who has exemplified his team's 2012 turnaround, the Dodgers will look to sweep the reigning National League West winners, the D-backs, at Chase Field.

After posting a 12-14 record in 2011, Lilly is off to a 5-0 start this year. His 1.79 ERA ranks second among NL starters, slightly behind Atlanta righty Brandon Beachy's 1.77.

In his last outing, the 36-year-old gave up four runs, none of which were earned, on four Cardinals hits over seven innings in a 6-5 Dodgers victory.

On the hill for the D-backs will be a veteran lefty of their own in Joe Saunders. After boasting a 0.90 ERA in April, the 30-year-old has struggled in May with a 7.40 mark.

Saunders will have to work Wednesday without the services of batterymate Miguel Montero, who strained his left groin on Monday and isn't expected back until Friday at the earliest.

"We don't think it's 15 days, but at the same time, we don't want to push him," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We'll see the treatment and the kind of relief he gets. He is a catcher though, he's got to block balls. He's not going to start [Wednesday] for sure."

D-backs: Hudson on schedule for Sunday return
D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson returned to Chase Field on Tuesday after starting for Triple-A Reno Monday, and if his bullpen session later this week goes well, he'll likely start on Sunday against the Brewers.

The 25-year-old has been on the disabled list since April 21 with a right shoulder impingement.

"We won't need another starter until Sunday, so we'll see how Huddy comes through the week. If it goes smooth with him, he'd be a likely candidate," Gibson said. "We're not sure on that. He'd be a guy that'd push too fast. We want to get in and watch him and make sure."

The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits while throwing 71 pitches in five innings at Reno.

"Everything went well, and I'm ready to go," Hudson said. "I don't feel anything at all, I don't have any pain the next day at all, it feels great."

The D-backs aren't sure exactly when Hudson's bullpen session will take place, but it'll likely be Thursday or Friday.

Dodgers: Ethier gets extra RBI
After an appeal by the Dodgers, Major League Baseball changed an official scorer's ruling and gave Andre Ethier an RBI double on a ball that flicked off the glove of San Diego center fielder Cameron Maybin, who was originally charged with an error in the Dodgers' 8-1 win over the Padres on Thursday.

Bobby Abreu, who had doubled, scored on the play. As a result of the change, Ethier now has a league-leading 40 RBIs, 13 doubles, 23 extra-base hits (tied for second) and a .321 average.

Worth noting
• Ethier, a Phoenix native, has hit safely in 10 consecutive games against Arizona, batting 20-for-40 against the D-backs with two homers and seven RBIs since July 29, 2011.

• The D-backs' Willie Bloomquist has a seven-game hitting streak and in five of those games, he's had multiple hits. Comments