Chad Billingsley made a triumphant return from his left hamstring injury to pitch six solid innings, and with the backing of a balanced offensive attack, the Dodgers were able to beat the Cardinals 7-3, in front of 45,085 at Dodger Stadium.
Billingsley was again dominant through five innings, allowing only one hit, a second-inning single to Rick Ankiel. In three of his last four starts, Billingsley has allowed zero runs on two hits or less in the first five innings. However, Billingsley ran into some trouble in the sixth, but finished the inning allowing only two runs. Tonight was the eighth start of Billingsley's career in which he lasted at least five innings and didn't walk a batter.
Those two Cardinal runs in the sixth inning were bearable because the Dodgers already had a 5-0 lead. The Dodger offense, minus Matt Kemp -- who sat with flu-like symptoms -- came to play, collecting 14 hits and scoring seven runs on the night. Every starter, including Chad Billingsley, had at least one hit and either a run scored or batted in. The offensive stars:
Andre Ethier had three hits, including a double, a triple, a walk, a runs scored, and an RBI
- Orlando Hudson had three hits, and is now hitting .327/.386/.462 in August
- Russell Martin had two doubles, a run, and an RBI
- James Loney looked to be out by a mile at home plate in the seventh inning, but a wonderful slide on a bang-bang, both players sliding play at the plate allowed Loney to score the Dodgers sixth run of the night
- Loney also had two walks, making him the fourth member of the 50-walk club. Four down, four to go.
James McDonald allowed a run in a brief relief appearance, but George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton each got four outs to close out the game, including Broxton retiring Albert Pujols with a man on base to end the eighth inning. Pujols, who struck out as the first out recorded in Broxton's career, back in 2005, now has just one single and a walk career against Broxton in 11 plate appearances.
Clayton Kershaw, hopefully recovered from the flu bug that also felled Kemp tonight, will face Adam Wainwright in a great pitching matchup to end the (regular) season series.
WP - Chad Billingsley (12-6): 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeout
LP - Mitchell Boggs (1-2): 4 IP, 9 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (26): 1.1 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts