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Billingsley and Bullpen gut out 5 - 3 victory

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With a win tonight the Dodgers would guarantee another series win against their third straight Eastern Division opponent. The odds were in the Dodgers favor with Chad Billingsley on the mound but once he fell behind 3 - 1 he was going to need some offensive support if he was going to notch another win.

Would it come from the likes of the hot Dodgers Pierre/rHudson/Martin/Blake or the cold bats of Furcal/Loney/Ethier/Kemp?

It would come from somewhere and when they were done they owned the best record in baseball at 28 - 13.

To find out how they did it, turn the page.

The Dodgers were down 3 - 1 and Chad was looking very shaky but lucky for him Ramon Martinez was batting sixth for the Mets. He struck him out to end the 3rd and then retired the next 9 hitters.

The Dodger bats meanwhile got the least from the most in the first inning when Ethier grounded into a double play and Martin flied out after Pierre, Furcal, and Hudson had all reached base.  They got one more run in the 4th when Chad doubled in Blake leaving them down 3 - 2 as they came to bat in the sixth.

Martin started the sixth off with a strike out. Loney followed with line drive single and Kemp hit a simple fly ball down the line that Church simply couldn't catch upto and it fell for single. Blake is batting eighth but at the moment he's the only home run threat in the lineup and once again he delivered as he has time and time again this season with a rocket into the left field pavillion. Blake now has four home runs in his last seven games and is providing the power while Kemp/Ethier slump. Of his nine home runs, four have either tied the game or given the Dodgers the lead. Not bad for your number eight hitter.

Chad took the 5 - 3 lead into the 7th but was quickly pulled after Santos reached base with one out. He had thrown 117 pitches in only 6 1/3 innings but this is the kind of game you like to see from your horse. He was shaky early but kept his team close and then shut down the other team in the middle innings. Now it was upto the bullpen to hold the lead he had passed onto them. Leach was brought into face Pagan and got his man. Then on a fly ball that Hudson almost caught he landed on his shoulder and the ball fell free. The injury forced Hudson (day to day) from the game, and while he was being tended to Beliario was warming up to face the pinch hitter Sheffield. Power against power and Belisario proved the better man this time.

Cory Wade was called upon to hold the lead in the 8th but he had to get through Beltran/Wright/Church. Beltran ripped a single into right field and Wright followed with a walk. Church walked up hoping to redeem himself from last nights base running blunder but instead flied out to Pierre. Now instead of facing a major league hitter, Wade only had to get Ramon Martinez. Ramon had already struck out three times but he did himself one better by grounding into a double play. When you bat players like Ramon sixth, things like that happen.

Broxton came into the 9th and made it a quick 1 - 2 - 3 ninth and the Dodgers have now won three straight, six of their last seven, and improved their home record to 16 - 3.

Ethier and Martin had forgettable games but we won't dissect their problems in a winning game recap.