The Dodger offense provided the energy at Wrigley Field tonight, staking the Dodgers to two different five-run leads that the pitching staff was just good enough to maintain, giving the Dodgers an 8-5 win in a game that featured an 18-minute delay due to a power outage in the top of the fourth inning. The Cub offense attempted to match the Dodgers, collecting 14 hits compared to the Dodgers 10, but hitting into three double plays.
Chad Billingsley struggled through 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned), but ten hits, with one walk and one hit batsman, ultimately throwing 100 pitches while striking out six. The Cubs had runners on base in every inning against Billingsley, who faced the minimum three batters in only the fourth inning by inducing Derrek Lee into an inning-ending double play.
The Dodgers opened the game with Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin reaching base and advancing on a ground out. Manny Ramirez drove in a run with a hard ground out to third base, Casey Blake doubled in Martin, and Loney capped a three-run first with a single to left.
In the second inning, Los Angeles plated two more runs, both unearned, off Tom Gorzelanny on a Matt Kemp double to the alley in left-center, scoring Billingsley who had walked, and Martin who reached base when third baseman Mike Fontenot fielded his two-out grounder and threw the ball into the stands beyond the first-base dugout.
The Cubs cut the lead to three runs in the third, scoring one run in an inning in which they had batters reach base in five different ways. A single, Rafael Furcal's third fielding error in the first eleven innings of his return from the disabled list, and a walk loaded the bases. Fontenot was hit by a pitch to force in a run, but Starlin Castro bounced into a force at home and Billingsley escaped further damage by striking out Koyie Hill on a breaking ball in the dirt and retiring Gorzelanny on a ground out.
James Loney collected three hits, falling a home run short of a cycle, and Blake powered a home run for an insurance run in the ninth inning. Loney's triple leading off the sixth, immediately followed by Reed Johnson's double to left, led to two runs that re-established a five-run lead.
Jonathan Broxton collected his 11th save by pitching the final 1 2/3 innings using only 16 pitches, easing his own workload by racking up the first two outs by wiping out his inherited runner on a ground-ball double play by Ryan Theriot. Broxton was the second Dodger reliever to retire his first batter on a double play. Ronald Belisario did the same to end the sixth in relief of Billingsley on a bizarre play when Loney caught Kosuke Fukudome rounding too far around second after a routine grounder to the right side.
Hong-Chih Kuo struck out three batters in the seventh inning, but allowed a triple to Jeff Baker that scored two runs charged to Belisario and closed out the scoring for Chicago. Kuo pitched 1 1/3 innings on 25 pitches, pitching in parts of two different innings for the second time this season. Dodger pitchers pounded the strike zone, with each hurler throwing at least 70% of his pitches for strikes.
The Dodgers look to take the series in tomorrow's day game with John Ely taking the mound against Ted Lilly.
WP - Chad Billingsley (6-2): 5 1/3 IP, 10 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Tom Gorzelanny (2-5): 5 IP, 7 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (11): 1 2/3 IP, 0 baserunners, 1 strikeout