Thursday, May 15, 2008

Huge 7th helps Dodgers take series in Milwaukee

After limping through 5 straight loses, the Dodgers' bats finally found ways to score runs in the absence of Rafael Furcal.

A scoreless game heading into the 7th, solo shots by Andruw Jones and Jeff Kent, and a 3-run shot by Gary Bennett was more than enough for the Dodgers to top the Brewers, 7-2. It was this type of clutch hitting that the Dodgers have been waiting to see since Furcal was Dl'd.

A whole bunch of credit goes to Chad Billingsley, who was simply brilliant all day long. He finished at 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. After getting hit around by the Houston Astros in his last start, he didn't miss a beat all day. This type of game is exactly what he's capable of doing each start.

The Dodgers could only gather 3 hits heading into the 7th, and it looked like another one of those days. Then an inexplicable sight happened. Andruw Freakin' Jones hit a solo shot to left for the game's first run. After an Andre Ethier groundout, Jeff Kent followed with a solo homer of his own. James Loney tripled next, and was singled home by Russell Martin. Newly called-up Luis Maza singled, and Gary Bennett unloaded on a 3-run homer to blow the game wide open. It's the type of inning the Dodgers have shown plenty of times this year, which makes their offensive struggles even more mind boggling.

Bennett added another RBI on a double in the 9th, and he ended up going 2-4 with 4 RBI. It's a great sign that he's hitting in case the Dodgers want to start Martin at 3rd base more often, much like today. Blake DeWitt missed the game with a stiff lower back, so knowing that Bennett can provide runs is a big relief.

For those of you that missed yesterday's game, Juan Pierre provided the big flow off of closer Guillermo Mota in the 9th for a 2-run double to get the win. It was a game where the Dodgers were losing until the 9th, so the comeback was a great sign that their offensive futility may be over.

Taking 2 of 3 in Milwaukee is huge for a couple of reasons. One, the Brewers are a good team with loads of talent. Two, they had lost 5 straight, so any signs of life is welcome. Plus, winning without Furcal and putting runs on the board is good for the confidence of the team.

Friday night starts interleague play as they travel to Anaheim to meet the Angels. Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball, and he had a no-hitter going into the 7th against the Astros last start, a game in which Jonathan Broxton was bombed and lost the game. The Angels seem to always slap them around, so playing solid baseball would be another big statement that their bad play is over with.

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