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Dodgers pound Giants in record-setting fashion

Orlando Hudson becomes the first L.A. player to hit for the cycle at Dodger Stadium, where a single-day attendance figure is set. Andre Ethier hits two home runs.

April 14, 2009|DYLAN HERNANDEZ

What was the single greatest memory the Dodgers created for the record crowd that witnessed their home opener?

The headfirst slide into third base in the sixth inning that made Orlando Hudson the first Dodger to hit for the cycle in 39 years? The seven dominant innings thrown by Chad Billingsley in his first home opener? The first two home runs of the season for Andre Ethier? The ceremonial first pitch thrown out by Vin Scully and caught by Manager Joe Torre? Teenage singer Charice's breathtaking rendition of the national anthem?

Monday was one of those days when everything went right for the Dodgers, as they dismantled the San Francisco Giants, 11-1, in front of what the club said was a crowd of 57,099 fans -- the greatest single-game attendance for any baseball game played in Dodger Stadium's 47-year history.

"Billingsley pitched great, we all had great at-bats, we played great defense," said Hudson, who received two standing ovations in the seventh inning. "The cycle was part of a great day for us."

The Dodgers headed into an off day today on a three-game winning streak and will resume their series against the Giants on Wednesday.

"To get off to this kind of start," Torre said, "hopefully we can make something of it."

To win Monday, the Dodgers had to do something they never did before -- beat Randy Johnson at Dodger Stadium.

In 11 previous starts in the ballpark, Johnson was 7-0 and 2.04 earned-run average. But the Dodgers pounded the 45-year-old left-hander on this day for seven runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, denying him the 296th win of his career.

The Johnson who pitched Monday, tossing fastballs in the mid-to-high 80s, was nothing like the Johnson who won five Cy Young awards. His decreased velocity might have confused the Dodgers in the first two innings, at the conclusion of which the game was scoreless.

"Any time you think Randy Johnson, you think of a 95-, 96-mph fastball," Torre said.

The Dodgers got on the board in the third inning on a home run to left by Hudson.

The Giants took back a run in the fourth when Travis Ishikawa singled in Bengie Molina, but the Dodgers responded immediately and decisively.

Johnson was pounded for six runs in a never-ending bottom of the fourth, the first on a home run by Ethier to center. Rafael Furcal singled in two runs. Hudson doubled in another. Johnson issued back-to-back walks to Manny Ramirez and James Loney and was sent to the clubhouse by Giants Manager Bruce Bochy.

Johnson's replacement, Merkin Valdez, gave up a two-run single to Russell Martin.

Whereas Johnson (0-2) weakened as the game progressed, Billingsley (2-0) grew stronger.

The right-hander struck out seven of the last nine batters he faced, including the last five. He retired his last 10 batters.

Billingsley finished the game with 11 strikeouts in seven innings. The 24-year-old ace-in-the-making held the Giants to a run and five hits, and did not walk a batter.

"It's my first home opener," Billingsley said. "Pitching in front of that crowd was fun. It was a great experience."

Hudson completed his cycle in the sixth, lining a Brandon Medders pitch into the right-field corner, circling the bases and just beating the relay to third. He scored later in the inning on a single by Loney.

Ethier capped the scoring with a three-run homer in the eighth inning.

Ethier had been taken out of the cleanup spot two days earlier and replaced by Loney, in part, Torre said, because Ethier was taking too many pitches. Both of his home runs Monday came on first pitches.

"You've got to go up there and be aggressive," Ethier said. "There's a fine line between seeing pitches and taking pitches and being aggressive. I think some of my takes sometimes can be a little too flat-footed, back on my heels rather than be aggressive and think swing the whole time and take at the last second. That's something I have to work on."


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