The Dodgers’ jumped on rookie Derek Holland (1-4) for an early 1-0 lead with Blake’s sacrifice fly in the first inning. They never let the youngster get comfortable and forced him into favorable counts. Holland walked four batters in five innings work.
Rafael Furcal handed Texas the lead in the bottom of the first when he turned a Nelson Cruz double play ball into two runs for the Rangers.
Furcal elected to not flip the ball to second baseman Orlando Hudson, who was waiting on the bag. Instead, Furcal launched a throw off the top of James Loney’s glove as first. It was Furcal’s first error in three weeks.
The Dodgers’ had to turn to their third baseman again the third, still trailing 2-1.
Blake fouled off multiple tough pitches from Holland and worked the count full before launching his 10th home run of the season deep into left-center-field seats. The blast gave the Dodgers' a 4-2 lead they wouldn't let slip.
The lone bright spot for the Rangers was Andruw Jones. He stroked a leadoff home run off of Chad Billingsley in the fourth.
Jones, facing the team who released him this past winter, hit two home runs against his former team in less than 24 hours. He hit just three the entire ’08 season for the Dodgers.
The Rangers’ offense was quiet for most of the afternoon. They failed to advance a single runner to second base after the first inning, with the exception of the Jones home run.
Billingsley was dominant in seven innings work and retired 16 of 17 hitters from the second until the seventh.
Brad Ausmus also chipped in with a 2-for-2 day at the plate. He drove in an insurance run to push the Dodgers’ lead to 6-3 with an RBI single in the seventh.
Jonathan Broxton struck out the side in the ninth after giving up a leadoff single to Michael Young. It was Broxton’s 16th save of the season in 18 attempts.
Other Notes from Sunday Afternoon
No Sweatin’ the Texas Heat
Dodgers’ ace Chad Billingsley worked seven innings and used just 97 pitches on a warm day in Arlington. He scattered five hits and allowed three runs, two earned, to a dangerous Texas offense. Billingsley improved to 9-3, and lowered his ERA to 2.72.
He also won his third consecutive start and joined Matt Cain as the only nine-game winners in the National League.
The Right Man on the Right Day
Brad Ausmus took care of the duties behind the plate on Sunday while Dodgers’ regular was the DH. The three-time Gold Glove winner has been a reliable weapon to give starter’s rest and as a pinch-hitter late in games for manager Joe Torre.
Ausmus also continues to contribute as a hitter when called upon. With his two hit day on Sunday, the 40-year old Ausmus improved his avg. to .317 in 13 games this season.
Sweet, Sweet Redemption
Andruw Jones is hitting .257 with 7 home runs and 17 RBI in 32 games with the Rangers in ’09. He played in 75 games with the Dodgers’ in ’08, and he hit just .158 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI.
22 year-old rookie Derek Holland last won May 12 against Seattle and has seen his ERA rise from 1.74 to 6.53 in six outings since then. On Sunday, he allowed three of the five leadoff batters he faced to reach base, and two of those runners scored.
Holland was scheduled to start Wednesday against Toronto but had his start pushed back to Sunday when the game was postponed due to rain.
What’s On Tap
The Dodgers’ head home, where they will take Monday off before entertaining the Oakland Athletics on a brief three-game homestand starting Tuesday. Joe Torre will be attempting to tie Sparky Anderson for fifth on the all-time wins list at 2, 194.
Los Angeles lefty Clayton Kershaw (3-5, 4.50 ERA) will try to find his rhythm after a shaky outing last Wednesday against the Padres. The A’s will send left-hander Dallas Braden (5-5, 3.33 ERA) to the hill.