Dodgers-Cardinals: Billingsley Leads The Way in 7-3 Victory

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Dodgers-Cardinals: Billingsley Leads The Way in 7-3 Victory

Chad Billingsley returned to the mound for the first time since straining his left hamstring on Aug. 7 as the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals for the second of three games at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers (71-49), who had lost four out of five to the Cardinals (68-53) this season entering tonight, won 7-3 behind the arm of their now healthy staff ace.

Billingsley pitched six innings of strong baseball, allowing two runs on just three hits and despite striking out only one hitter, he also didn’t issue a walk—which is impressive considering he entered the game fourth in the NL in walks (66).

The Dodgers offense nickel-and-dimed the Cardinals all night, as each starting position player recorded a base hit. The club also got production from the bottom of the lineup with Orlando Hudson going 3-for-3 and making multiple Gold Glove-caliber players at second base.

Catcher Russell Martin added a 2-for-4 effort, and Andre Ethier stayed hot at the dish, banging out three hits and falling a home run short of the cycle.

Ethier is hitting .517 (15-for-29) in his past six games and has raised his season average to .285.

They got to starter Mitch Boggs for two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to stake out a 5-0 lead for Billingsley, who actually singled home the first run of the game with one out in the fourth.

Rafael Furcal followed Billingsley by lashing a run scoring single of his own, bringing home Hudson, and notching a 2-0 lead at the end of four innings.

The Blue Crew went right back to work in the fifth, with Ethier tripling over the head of last night’s hero Rick Ankiel to start the inning.

He promptly came home when Manny Ramirez hit a 3-2 pitch into right field for an RBI single, and after a Casey Blake single, Boggs was pulled from the game with runners on first and second with none out.

James Loney and Hudson would add two RBI singles later in the inning off reliever Jason Motte to extend the lead to 5-0.

Billingsley cruised until the sixth inning, tossing a one-hitter through the first five frames, until the Cardinals touched him up for two runs on two hits.

The trouble started when Billingsley hit the leadoff batter, Jason Larue. Joe Thurston then pinch-hit and smacked a doubled to left field, advancing Larue to third.

Larue came home on an RBI groundout by Skip Schumacher, and Thurston would eventually score on a single by Brendan Ryan that made it a 5-2 game in favor of the Dodgers. Fortunately, Bills ended the sixth without major damage, thanks in large part to a well-turned 5-4-3 double play that stopped the Red Birds' rally.

Before the double play ball, the inning was starting to eerily resemble a six-run sixth Chad suffered in St. Louis on July 28, when he entered with a one-hitter and soon found himself trailing 6-0.

On the night, Billingsley threw just 77 pitches and his excellent performance on the mound was a welcome sight for Dodgers fans as he went six or more innings for the 20th time in 25 starts this season.

In the seventh, the bullpen slipped up and James McDonald surrendered one run to the visitors from St. Louis, but L.A. got the run back in the bottom half of the inning on Martin’s RBI double, his second two-bagger of the night.

To preserve the three-run lead and with Albert Pujols coming to the plate with two down in the eighth and one man on base, Joe Torre took southpaw George Sherrill out of the contest and called on struggling closer Jonathan Broxton to collect a four-out save.

On the second offering from Broxton, Pujols bounced a hard groundball to Blake at third, who knocked the shot down, collected, and fired a strike to first to record the out. 

Broxton was given some extra breathing room when Juan Pierre and Ethier hit back-to-back doubles in the eighth to cushion the lead ay 7-3, and the big right-hander would work a scoreless ninth to seal the game and secure a victory for the Dodgers.

Tomorrow night, the Boys in Blue will send Clayton Kershaw (8-7, 2.91) to the mound against Adam Wainwright (14-7, 2.62) for the series finale.

 

 

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WP: Billingsley (12-6)

LP: Boggs (1-2)

SV: Broxton (26)

 

Notes from Tuesday night

 

Manny Finally Does His Job

Manny Ramirez drove in a run with an RBI single tonight. It was his first RBI in six games, and just his fourth in his past 11 (all three other RBI came on Aug. 11 at San Francisco).

 

Keeping Them in the Yard

Chad Billingsley has now gone five starts without allowing a home run (28.2 IP). That streak comes after he gave up at least one home run in his previous five starts (28.1 IP).

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers 

 

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