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Dodgers' Andre Ethier knows drama

His 13th-inning home run that sank the Pirates on Tuesday gives him the most walk-off hits in the majors this season with six. The teams clash again at noon today at Dodger Stadium.

September 17, 2009|Jim Peltz

After starting the season as the potential ace of the Dodgers' pitching staff, a struggling Chad Billingsley will not start this weekend when the Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants, Manager Joe Torre said Wednesday.

The right-hander also was sent to the Dodgers' bullpen for Wednesday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in case the team needed him after Tuesday night's 13-inning game, which the Dodgers won, 5-4, after using six pitchers.

Billingsley was not used Wednesday in the Dodgers' 3-1 win over the Pirates.

The rotation for the Giants series would be Vicente Padilla on Friday, Jon Garland on Saturday and Randy Wolf on Sunday, Torre said. The Dodgers are off today.

Billingsley, 25, is 12-10 with a 3.99 earned-run average. But he has gone nearly a month without a win, losing his last four decisions, including Sunday against the Giants in San Francisco.

His last victory was Aug. 18 against St. Louis.

He also was at a loss to explain what's wrong.

Torre said he tapped Garland for Saturday partly because he has "had maybe a little more success against the Giants than Bills has." But Torre also said of Billingsley, "We're all of a mind that we want to get him in a good place.

"Chad's been kept abreast of this whole thing. I just told him that we needed to get him straightened out, whether it be a game or an inning or whatever, we just need to have him in the right direction. He was fine with it. He certainly understands."

Ethier's moment

With Tuesday night's game deadlocked 3-3, Andre Ethier led off the Dodgers' half of the 11th inning against Pittsburgh reliever Joel Hanrahan intent on sparking a winning rally.

Instead, "he struck me out," Ethier recalled after the game. "The situation was there."

But Ethier kept his frustration at bay and waited for another chance, which came in the 13th inning, this time against reliever Phil Dumatrait but with Pittsburgh ahead, 4-3.

After Rafael Furcal singled, Ethier launched Dumatrait's first pitch into the right-field stands for a home run that gave L.A. another dramatic win, 5-4.

Ethier, 27, now has six walk-off hits this season, the most in the major leagues, and four are home runs. The left-handed hitter also leads the majors with nine walk-off hits since the start of the 2008 season.

Even Torre, who has seen his fair share of dramatic moments, said "it's just surreal" how Ethier has repeatedly lifted the Dodgers to victory in the final inning.

Wolf's return

Overshadowed in the late-inning drama Tuesday was the return of Wolf, who had missed his previous start because of a sore left elbow. He gave up three runs in seven innings, including a two-run homer to Steve Pearce in the second inning.

"Early on I didn't feel very sharp, I was too amped up," Wolf said. "A lot of my fastballs were up, my change-ups were up."

But Wolf said his elbow felt fine, prompting Torre to schedule him to start Sunday against the Giants.

Fair ball

Several former Dodgers are scheduled to appear today at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, including Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Maury Wills and Tommy Davis.

Guests who wear merchandise with a Dodgers logo also can get half-price admission if they first print a coupon from the fair's website, "> , according to the website.

And finally

Former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda will have his portrait presented at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the Dodgers said. The unveiling will be Tuesday, Lasorda's 82nd birthday.


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