Big night for Billingsley
Chad Billingsley stopped the free-fall, at least for a night, guiding the Dodgers to a 7-3 win over the Cardinals and ending a season-high four game losing streak. It was a team effort with each starter collecting a hit and seven players recording a run batted in. Since 1900, the Dodgers and Cardinals have played 1,987 games with Brooklyn/Los Angeles holding a slim, 994-993 edge all-time.
Billingsley (12-6) allowed three hits over six strong innings after missing his last start with a slightly strained hamstring. He also added an RBI single as the Dodgers blew up the St. Louis five-game winning streak. “I’m happy with how it went,” Billingsley said. “I just have to pitch my game, and if I do, I can win any time.”
It was the fourth win in the last 11 games for Los Angeles and they maintained both their National League-best record of 71-49 and their lead over both Colorado and San Francisco, who won.
Andrew Ethier was 3-for-4 with a single, double and a triple to key the 14-hit attack.
Los Angeles broke up a 0-0 tie in the fourth inning, scoring twice and adding three more in the fifth. Leading 6-3 in the eighth inning, Jonathan Broxton came into the game and retired Albert Pujols with a runner on first and then added a hitless ninth, working around a leadoff walk.
He struck out two and over his last two appearances has allowed no hits fanned four of the seven batters retired, earning his 26th in 30 opportunities.
"I really didn't know what to expect today," Billingsley said. "I had command of my fastball, and I threw that a lot today. I mixed in some offspeed, and I was really pleased with how I threw the ball." Billingsley threw 77 pitches total, and Torre said that the club was hoping he could throw between 80-90 pitches.
Dodgers pitching handed both Pujols and Matt Holiday 0-for-4 nights, with Holliday's 19-game streak ending. He was hitless for just the third time in 23 games since being traded to the Cardinals.
Billingsley allowed just a second inning single over the first five innings and the Dodgers dented the scoreboard for the first time in the fourth when Russ Martin doubled to deep center when Rick Ankiel misjudged his long shot, Orlando Hudson singled and the "Old Slugger" himself, Billingsley, knocked in the first run with a Texas-League single to right. Rafael Furcal drove in Hudson with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
They added three in the fifth when Ethier tripled to center and scored on a Manny Ramirez single. Casey Blake singled to knock out Cardinal starter Mitchell Boggs but the change didn't help St. Louis. Loney singled to center, driving in Ramirez and with two out, Hudson's single made it 5-0 when Loney's head-first slide allowed him to brush the plate before the tag.
The Cardinals scored twice in the sixth, kicked off by former Dodger Joe Thurston who opened the inning with a double.
The two teams traded runs in the seventh, with Martin's double scoring Loney from first base with two out. Ethier doubled to drive in Juan Pierre in the eighth and Broxton came in to shut the door on the win.
"It was a big game for us -- for a lot of reasons," manager Joe Torre said. "Winning a ballgame for one, and of course, getting Billingsley back.
"We got to their guy a little bit earlier tonight, and we stayed on top," Orlando Hudson, who also went 3-for-4 with an RBI, told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "We drove in some key runs early on, which is definitely a good thing, and we haven't been doing that lately."
Matt Kemp was sidelined with the flu and replaced by Pierre. Kemp is hitting .312 with 17 home runs and 76 RBIs. His home run and RBI numbers are second on the team behind Andre Ethier. Pierre is hitting .321 with 26 RBIs and is tied for seventh in the National League with 23 stolen bases.
In the rubber game of the three-game series, the Dodgers will start LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-7, 2.91 ERA), who lasted only 4.1 innings before hitting his pitch limit, although he struck out nine. Kershaw held St. Louis scoreless for eight innings on four hits in St. Louis last month.
The only thing standing between Chris Carpenter and another Cy Young Award is teammate RHP Adam Wainwright (14-7, 2.62 ERA) who ranks among the leaders in nearly every category, and he has pitched at least six innings in 23 straight starts.
Score by Innings
St. Louis 000 002 100-3
Los Angeles 000 230 11x-7
Los Angeles ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss 5 0 1 1 .262
Pierre cf 5 1 1 0 .319
Ethier rf 4 1 3 1 .285
Ramirez lf 4 1 1 1 .309
Blake 3b 4 1 1 0 .279
Loney 1b 2 1 1 1 .280
Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000
Martin c 4 1 2 1 .263
Hudson 2b 4 1 3 1 .294
Billingsley p 3 0 1 1 .217
McDonald p 0 0 0 0 .000
Sherrill p 0 0 0 0 .000
Loretta 1b 1 0 0 0 .226
Totals 36 7 14 7
St Louis 31 3 5 3
2B- Martin 2 (15), Pierre (16), Ethier
(31). 3B- Ethier (3). RBI- Billingsley
(4), Furcal (34), Ramirez (45), Loney
(71), Hudson (57), Martin (34), Ethier
(81). LOB- Los Angeles 9, St. Louis 4.
DP- Blake, Hudson and Loney.
Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era
Billingsley (12-6) 6.0 3 2-2 0 1 3.70
McDonald 0.1 1 1-1 0 0 4.40
Sherrill 1.1 1 0-0 1 0 1.94
Broxton (sv 26) 1.1 0 0-0 1 2 3.11
HBP- by Billingsley. T- 2:50. Att- 49,052.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Chad Billingsley has gone a career-high five straight starts (28.1 innings) without allowing a home run for the fourth time. ...Russell Martin's two doubles ended his 10-game stretch without an extra-base hit. ...George Sherrill worked 1.1 scoreless innings and has tossed 9.2 consecutive scoreless innings in nine games since his July 30 acquisition…do note, Sherrill allowed his first inherited runner (of six) to score in the seventh. ...Rafael Furcal went 1-for-5 with an RBI and has reached base safely in a season-high 27 straight games dating to July 20. ...Jonathan Broxton picked up his first save of more than 1.0 inning since June 21, when he tossed 1.1 innings to close out a 5-3 victory against the Angels at Anaheim Stadium. ...Billingsley's RBI single in the fourth inning on Tuesday gives him 10 hits and four RBIs on the season. He's second on the Dodgers' pitching staff behind Randy Wolf's nine run batted in. However, he boosted his average to .217 and is the current leader in "The Old Slugger" race that will determine the top hitting pitcher on the staff and the large (4 1/2") trophy that is presented by Dodgers Dugout and LADugout each year. Wolf is second in that department with a .192 average.