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Dodgers Cling to Victory over Cubs

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After being shut out by Cubs’ starter Ted Lilly for seven innings on May 27 at Wrigley Field in their 1-0 loss, the Dodgers went to town against him in their 9-7 win over the Cubs.

“It was a good night offensively,” manager Joe Torre said of his club’s production. “We had production up and down the lineup. Russell [Martin] got us off with the three-run homer. [Andre] Ethier had a good night. We did a lot of good things.”

Before the game on LA Kings night, Kings’ captain and Chicago White Sox fan Dustin Brown not only tossed the ceremonial first pitch but also had a penalty shot contest in the dugout with Russell Martin. Unlike the home run derby, the swings didn’t adversely affect Martin as he crushed a three-run homer to left field in the bottom of the second inning to give the Dodgers the 3-1 lead. It was his first homer since May 11 and the fifth of the season.

“He needed it,” Torre said of Martin’s homer. “He’s so energetic that he gets up there and sometimes swings so hard he takes away from his ability. We’ve talked about it.

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“There’s a lot of energy there. He loves to compete, and sometimes he has a little trouble channeling it.”

After the Cubs got one run back in the top of the third inning, the Dodgers displayed their small ball skills in the bottom of the inning. After Rafael Furcal led off the inning with a double, Jamey Carroll laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the box. Lilly barely managed to get his glove on it and attempted to push the ball to first baseman Derrek Lee. The ball had other plans and crawled into foul territory headed straight for the Cubs’ dugout while Carroll was safe on first and Furcal standing tall on third.

An Andre Ethier single brought Furcal home; Kemp’s double that travelled to the left centerfield wall and jumped out of left fielder Tyler Colvin’s glove brought home Carroll; Casey Blake’s sacrifice fly brought home Ethier giving the Dodgers a 6-2 lead.

Even the mishits were going the Dodgers way. In the fourth inning Ethier caught a Lilly fastball on the hands and it managed to land innocently in shallow right field to score Xavier Paul for the 7-2 lead and hooked Lilly.

The Dodgers didn’t stop when the Cubs inserted reliever Mitch Atkins. After James Loney led off the fifth inning with a walk, Casey Blake scalded a double down the right field line bringing home Loney for the 8-2 lead.

Although Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley had a tough time getting hitters out, he managed to pitch into the eighth inning.

“He was fighting it,” Torre remarked.

“It was good,” Billingsley said. “I was able to have some quick innings there in the middle of the game which allowed me to go back out there in the eighth.”

Chad Billingsley got himself into a jam in the second inning - a walk to Aramis Ramirez, a blooper single that died in shallow centerfield by Marlon Byrd and a walk to Tyler Colvin loaded the bases with no outs. After Mike Fontenot grounded to first to bring in Ramirez Billingsley was able to get Koyie Hill and Ted Lilly, the eight- and nine-hole hitters, to strike out to end the threat.

The only real blunder by the Dodgers came with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Pinch hitter Xavier Nady hit a blooper that Jamey Carroll ran out and had in his glove. That is until Ethier caught up with Carroll and tackled him soccer-style causing the ball to drop to the ground. Billingsley didn’t have a problem with it as he got Kosuke Fukudome to ground out to first.

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Dodger relievers not named Hong-Chih Kuo, Jeff Weaver and Jonathan Broxton continue to prove quite unnerving.

“One hitter,” Torre said about his decision to leave Billingsley in the eighth inning. “They had the left-handers coming up.”

After Billingsley gave up a single to Marlon Byrd, George Sherrill came in with one fastball and gave up a double to Tyler Colvin sending Byrd to third.

“My plan was to hopefully get [Byrd] out, and come with George Sherrill with the next two left-handers,” Torre said. “If they changed, we did. Unfortunately we didn’t get the first two hitters out.”

Things looked stabilized when Justin Miller came in and struck out right-handed pinch hitter Jeff Baker. But during Koyie Hill’s at-bat he made a wild pitch bring home Byrd and moving Colvin to third base. Hill then hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Colvin cutting the Dodger lead to 9-5.

Miller in the ninth inning gave up a lead-off single to Kosuke Fukudome, and Torre decided to stop fooling around and bring in closer Jonathan Broxton for the save situation.

“It’s a concern,” Torre said about the bullpen making things interesting. “For the most part our bullpen is good. With the lead we had we tried not go to the people we would go to in the late innings - Kuo and Brox. But we weren’t able to get away with it tonight.”

By the way, Brown and Martin tied 1-1 in the aforementioned penalty shot contest.