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St. Louis (68-53)000002100350
L.A. Dodgers (71-49) «00023011x7140

Billingsley's strong start helps Dodgers snap Cards' win streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Chad Billingsley claims he got just as much satisfaction from the first pitch of his comeback start as the final fastball, which coaxed a rally-killing double play grounder from Albert Pujols.

Though the other Dodgers might disagree with that, they're just grateful to have their slump-stopping starter back in good health.

Billingsley yielded three hits over six strong innings and added an RBI single in the Dodgers' 7-3 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday night, snapping the Cardinals' five-game winning streak in a meeting of first-place clubs.

Andre Ethier went 3 for 4 with a triple and a late run-scoring double for the Dodgers, who improved the NL's best record to 71-49 with just their fourth win in 11 games.

Los Angeles clearly needs Billingsley (12-6), who missed his previous scheduled start after straining his left hamstring Aug. 7, to shore up a rotation already missing Hiroki Kuroda and Jason Schmidt. The All-Star right-hander has yielded just three earned runs and nine hits in his last three starts, though he doesn't see himself as a stopper just yet.

  Kuroda likely heading to DL

"I'm just trying to get back in it, and I'm happy with how it went," Billingsley said. "I just have to pitch my game, and I can win any time."

Manny Ramirez and James Loney had run-scoring singles in the middle innings as seven Dodgers drove in a run apiece during a 14-hit attack. Los Angeles, which had lost a season-high four straight at home, remained 4½ games ahead of Colorado atop the NL West despite being two games below .500 since the All-Star break.

"He was mixing it up pretty good, because it didn't seem like anybody was getting good swings off of him," Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel said of Billingsley. "He really kept us at bay, and this is a pretty good lineup to keep at bay."

Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton has been criticized in Los Angeles after some recent struggles, but he retired Pujols to end an eighth-inning threat before completing a four-out save, his 26th in 30 chances.

"We didn't want this thing to get out of hand," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who also used reliever George Sherrill to escape a seventh-inning jam. "This game was very important to us."

Brendan Ryan and Khalil Greene drove in runs for the Cardinals, who have lost just twice in 11 games.

One night after hitting his major league-leading 39th homer, Pujols went 0 for 4 with three inning-ending outs. Matt Holliday also went 0 for 4, failing to get a hit for just the third time in 23 games since arriving from Oakland -- and snapping a 19-game hitting streak against the Dodgers.

St. Louis fell behind 5-0 in the fifth inning before cutting the Dodgers' lead to two runs, but Loney scored on a headfirst slide in the seventh, barely getting his hand under the tag after Russell Martin's double. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa ran onto the field to argue.

"I knew I got there first," Loney said. "That's been our team most of the season. Different guys are getting RBIs every night, and it's good to see."

Mitchell Boggs (1-2) gave up nine hits and five runs while failing to escape the fourth inning for the Cardinals, who appear interested in signing John Smoltz. Boggs is winless in his last six starts for St. Louis, which could entice Smoltz with an immediate rotation spot.

"I think what I had to do early in the game had a lot to do with what happened later in my outing," Boggs said. "I threw too many pitches. I had an opportunity in the first inning to get out of there with only nine pitches, but I ended up throwing 20 pitches that inning and 20 pitches in the next inning. I didn't run out of gas at all, but when they get to see that many pitches, that's not a recipe for success."

Los Angeles scored its first two runs on four straight hits in the fourth inning. After Ankiel misjudged Martin's double to center, Billingsley drove home Martin when the pitcher's fly dropped between Ankiel and right fielder Ryan Ludwick.

Ethier then led off the fifth with a triple that Ankiel barely missed on a dive, and Ramirez drove him home to kick off a three-run inning.

Notes

  • RHP Jeff Weaver will start for the Dodgers against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in place of Kuroda, who has a concussion after getting hit in the head by a line drive last weekend. Weaver, a longtime starter, has started six games for Los Angeles this season in spot duty.
  • Matt Kemp sat out for the Dodgers with an apparent case of the flu.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Russell Martin and Manny Ramirez share a laugh and a smile during a three-run rally in the fifth. (AP)
Russell Martin and Manny Ramirez share a laugh and a smile during a three-run rally in the fifth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

A. Ethier
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Los Angeles

O. Hudson
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B3001000 .294
   a- Mark DeRosa, PH1000000 .257
    Blake Hawksworth, P0000000 .000
Brendan Ryan, SS3011100 .286
Albert Pujols, 1B4000002 .321
Matt Holliday, LF4000010 .317
Ryan Ludwick, RF3110100 .266
Rick Ankiel, CF4010021 .235
Khalil Greene, 3B4011002 .212
Jason LaRue, C2100001 .239
Mitchell Boggs, P1000000 .091
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
   b- Joe Thurston, PH1110000 .232
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .091
   c- Julio Lugo, PH-2B1000000 .307
Totals3135323  
a-lined out for Schumaker in the 8th
b-doubled for Motte in the 6th
c-flied out for Thompson in the 8th
Batting
2B - Joe Thurston (16, Billingsley)
RBI - Skip Schumaker (31), Brendan Ryan (21), Khalil Greene (23)
2-OUT RBI - Khalil Greene (12)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Ludwick 1
DP - Ludwick-Ryan, Ryan-Schumaker-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Mitchell Boggs (L,1-2) 4955330 4.58
Jason Motte 1200010 5.82
Brad Thompson 2111120 5.11
Blake Hawksworth 1211010 2.55
Pitches-Strikes - Mitchell Boggs 83-50, Jason Motte 11-9, Brad Thompson 28-19, Blake Hawksworth 13-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mitchell Boggs 4-4, Jason Motte 1-0, Brad Thompson 3-1, Blake Hawksworth 1-1
Batters Faced - Mitchell Boggs 23, Jason Motte 4, Brad Thompson 8, Blake Hawksworth 5
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS5011002 .262
Juan Pierre, CF5110002 .319
Andre Ethier, RF4131110 .285
Manny Ramirez, LF4111122 .309
Casey Blake, 3B4110013 .279
James Loney, 1B2111200 .280
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
Russell Martin, C4121012 .263
Orlando Hudson, 2B4131001 .294
Chad Billingsley, P3011023 .217
    James McDonald, P0000000 .000
    George Sherrill, P0000000 .000
    Mark Loretta, 1B1000000 .226
Totals36714747  
Batting
2B - Juan Pierre (16, Hawksworth), Andre Ethier (31, Hawksworth), Russell Martin 2 (15, Boggs, Thompson)
3B - Andre Ethier (3, Boggs)
RBI - Rafael Furcal (34), Andre Ethier (81), Manny Ramirez (45), James Loney (71), Russell Martin (34), Orlando Hudson (57), Chad Billingsley (4)
2-OUT RBI - Andre Ethier (32), Russell Martin (19), Orlando Hudson (23)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Blake-Hudson-Loney
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chad Billingsley (W,12-6) 6322010 3.70
James McDonald (H,4) 0.1111000 4.40
George Sherrill (H,5) 1.1100100 1.94
Jonathan Broxton (S,26) 1.1000120 3.11
HBP - LaRue (by Chad Billingsley)
Pitches-Strikes - Chad Billingsley 77-53, James McDonald 7-3, George Sherrill 27-16, Jonathan Broxton 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chad Billingsley 8-8, George Sherrill 2-2, Jonathan Broxton 1-1
Batters Faced - Chad Billingsley 21, James McDonald 2, George Sherrill 6, Jonathan Broxton 5
Game Information
Attendance - 49052
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Brian Gorman