Dodgers Cool Off In Houston
Having won eight straight going into their mid-week, three-game series in Houston, the Dodgers hoped to extend their winning ways heading into Colorado for this weekend’s three-game series. Such was not the case as LA dropped the first two games to the Astros before getting back on track Thursday behind Chad Billingsley. Billingsley, becoming the first Dodger to start 4-0 since Kaz Ishii went 6-0 in 2002, pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings to pace LA to a 2-0 victory. The hard-throwing right hander allowed a double and two singles, struck out five and walked two in lowering his ERA to 2.05. Jonathan Broxton (1.08 ERA) finished up for his fifth save. The Astros won 8-5 on Tuesday and escaped with a 6-5 triumph on Wednesday. The Dodgers are 11-5 and in first place in the West. Houston is last in the Central at 6-10.
“Wow…he was something wasn’t he?” LA Manager Joe Torre said of Billingsley on Dodgers.Com after Thursday’s game. It’s huge. Coming in, obviously we aspire to do more things, but after losing the first two – and having Wednesday’s game snatched away from you – the only way you’re going to turn it around is to have the type of game this kid (Billingsley) pitched tonight.” Manny Ramirez drove in a first-inning run with a single and Casey Blake stroked an RBI double in the seventh. Ramirez and Orlando Hudson each had two of the Dodgers’ eight hits off three Houston pitchers.
“I wanted to go deep in the game, and I really wanted to get a win out of this,” said Billingsley on the Dodger website. “After losing the first two, we really needed to get back on track.” Things are going well right now. I just go from start to start, trying to go out there and repeat everything. There are days when you don’t have your best stuff out there but that’s when you have to compete with what you got and try to keep the game close.”
Ramirez paced Dodger hitters against the Astros, going 5-for-12 with two homers and five RBI. Ramirez, Ethier, and Blake all homered in the second game.
The Rockies (5-9) will be out to avenge a three-game series sweep by the Dodgers last weekend at Dodger Stadium. The expected pitching match-ups are Friday: Eric Stults (2-0) vs. Aaron Cook (0-1); Saturday: James McDonald (0-1) vs. Ibaldo Jimenez (1-2); and Sunday: Clayton Kershaw (0-1) vs. Jason Marquis (2-1).
Dodger Chatter: The Dodgers are 6-0 at home and 5-5 away from Dodger Stadium. They will not return to Houston this season. According to Dodgers.Com, Billingsley has not lost since a 5-0 setback last Aug. 25 against the Phillies. That game was played in Philadelphia. The Dodgers finish up the current road trip with three games against the Giants Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week. The Dodger website says Cory Wade, on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis, may return to action during that series. After Matt Kemp’s 14-game hitting streak was snapped in Wednesday’s game, he started a new one with a single in the series finale. Hudson will bring a .385 average into Colorado followed by Kemp (.362), Ramirez (.345) and Ethier (.298). Russell Martin continues his slow start at .226.
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