The Dodgers were able to rally off the Chicago bullpen, but it was too little, too late in their 5-4 loss to the Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Chad Billingsley allowed two runs in the first inning and was pitching from behind for most of the day. He allowed at least one runner to reach base in each of his six innings, and had a runner in scoring position in each of the first four innings.
Through five innings, the only Dodger to get a hit off Paul Maholm was Jerry Hairston Jr., who was 2-for-2 off the starter, including his first home run as a Dodger. Exactly one week after brother Scott Hairston hit for the cycle for the New York Mets at Coors Field, Jerry Hairston went 3-for-4 on the day, finishing a double shy of the cycle himself.
The Dodgers had ideas of a rally in the sixth inning. After Billingsley, who at that point had thrown 94 pitches and had allowed 10 baserunners in five innings, hit for himself and was retired, Dee Gordon lined one off the knee if Maholm for an infield single. Gordon stole second base, but the mini-rally fizzled when Mark Ellis grounded to short and Matt Kemp struck out looking to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Billingsley recorded two quick outs on four pitches but as the perspiring Billingsley built up a lather he gave up a fly ball home run to right field by pinch hitter Joe Mather to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.
But Mather was pinch hitting for Maholm, who was removed after allowing just one run on three hits in six innings. With Maholm out of the game, the Dodgers rallied for a run in the seventh inning off James Russell and had runners on first and third base with two out for pinch hitter Bobby Abreu, making his Dodgers debut. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Abreu watched three straight strikes to end the threat.
After Mark Ellis walked in the eighth inning with one out, Kemp and Andre Ethier each added to their gaudy RBI totals, Kemp with a triple to right field and Ethier with a sacrifice fly to center. Ethier leads the major leagues with 28 RBI, and Kemp is second with 26.
Newly anointed Cubs closer Rafael Dolis hit A.J. Ellis with two outs in the ninth inning, but got Abreu to line out deep to right field to end the game. It was the second save of the season for Dolis.
- Today was the first time in six career starts at Wrigley Field, including the playoffs, that Chad Billingsley allowed more than two earned runs.
- Billingsley became the 19th Los Angeles Dodger to pitch 1,000 innings as a starter, and the first since Hideo Nomo in 2003. Billingsley has pitched 1005 2/3 innings in his 169 career starts, an average of 5.95 innings per start.
- A.J. Ellis threw out Cubs speedster Tony Campana trying to steal in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was the first time Campana has been caught in eight stolen base attempts this season.
- A.J. Ellis walked and was hit by a pitch in four plate appearances on Friday, and has reached base via hit or walk in a career-best 17 consecutive games. During that span, Ellis is hitting .308/.455/.442 during that span.
Chris Capuano gets the start on Saturday morning, a 10:05 a.m. PDT start, as the Dodgers try to snap their two game losing streak. Matt Garza was scheduled to start for the Cubs, but has a virus and now Chris Volstad gets the call, per ESPN Chicago.
Home Runs: Jerry Hairston Jr. (1); Joe Mather (2)
WP - Paul Maholm (3-2): 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Chad Billingsley (2-2): 6 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Rafael Dolis (2): 1 IP, 1 HBP