Bearded Chad Billingsley (W, 3-0).
Chad Billingsley continued his masterful run with seven strong innings, while battery mate A.J. Ellis took the nation by storm with the best night of his career in the Dodgers' 6-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Billingsley allowed just four hits and a run in his seven innings, winning his third straight game since returning from the disabled list. Billingsley struck out seven and walked two, the most free passes he has issued in a game since June.
A.J. Ellis opened the scoring in the third inning with a solo home run to left center field, his ninth home run of the season. Not only did Ellis set a new professional career high with that home run, surpassing the eight long balls he hit for Double A Jacksonville in 2007, but he also this season has hit one more home run than he had in the majors and minors combined in their last four seasons (eight).
It was enough to prompt Vin Scully to make a simple request: for Ellis to become a trending topic on Twitter. Within minutes, #ajellis was in fact trending nationwide. I thought this was the highlight:
Hi, Vin! Love you.Just for Vin Scully— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) August 4, 2012
After all, Ellis's boots are made for walking. And for hitting jacks apparently, as Ellis hit another home run in the seventh inning for the first multi-home run game of his career, to go along with an RBI single in between.
The Scully/Ellis/Twitter affair surpassed even Aaron Harang's nine consecutive strikeouts in April for the most unexpectedly magical moments at Dodger Stadium this season. The left field scoreboard even showed that Ellis was trending on Twitter during Ellis's at-bat in the seventh inning, when he homered a second time.
Hanley Ramirez doubled to open the fifth inning, the first "I see you" moment in four home games as a Dodger. James Loney followed with a double of his own for a 2-1 lead. Both doubles were hit to right field, and neither Ramirez nor Loney showed any hesitation on running on the arm of converted first baseman Bryan LaHair in right field. After Loney advanced to third on a fly ball, again to LaHair, Ellis singled to left for his second RBI of the night and a 3-1 lead.
Ramirez singled in two more runs in the sixth inning to widen the lead to 5-1, which might as well have been 20-1 given the way Billingsley has been pitching of late.
In his three starts since returning from the disabled list, Billingsley has allowed two runs on 15 hits in 20 1/3 innings, with two walks and 13 strikeouts. He is 3-0 in those starts.
Shane Victorino singled in the seventh inning for his first hit as a Dodger, and also stole his first base in blue during the same inning.
Home Runs: A.J. Ellis 2 (10)
WP - Chad Billingsley (7-9): 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Jeff Samardzija (7-9): 5 1/3 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 3 strikeouts