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Dodgers' doom arrives early again

Chad Billingsley gives up four runs in the first inning to the Brewers, and the Dodgers never recover in an 11-3 loss.

May 05, 2010|By Jim Peltz

The calendar said it was Cinco de Mayo but early on at Dodger Stadium it seemed more like the movie "Groundhog Day."

Twenty-four hours after Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was routed for seven runs in the second inning by the Milwaukee Brewers, Wednesday starter Chad Billingsley was tagged for four runs in the first inning by the Brewers.

And just as Kershaw and the Dodgers dug themselves a hole from which they couldn't escape, the early lead surrendered by Billingsley also proved too much for the Dodgers, who lost, 11-3.

Although Billingsley quickly settled down and threw shutout ball over the next five innings, the Dodgers' offense continued to sputter and their bullpen was ineffective.

"We crept back into that game and then it got away from us," Manager Joe Torre said. "I thought Billingsley pitched a heck of a game after the first inning."

The loss extended the Dodgers' streaky play so far this season as they remain under .500 in the National League West cellar.

They have lost two games in a row after winning three consecutive games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which in turn followed a five-game losing streak.

The Dodgers had a golden opportunity to tie the score, 4-4, in the seventh inning when Russell Martin led off with a single against right-handed reliever Todd Coffey.

But Coffey struck out Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and, after intentionally walking James Loney, got Casey Blake to ground out.

Milwaukee then blew it open with a five-run eighth inning against relievers Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso.

Belisario, who recently appeared to be regaining the strong form he showed in 2009, gave up three earned runs in 11/3 innings, lifting his earned-run average to 8.22.

It was the first inning that Billingsley wanted back, when it appeared someone had decided that the Dodgers' Reed Johnson, playing left field in place of injured Manny Ramirez, needed more practice.

Rickie Weeks singled to left on Billingsley's first pitch.

Carlos Gomez singled to left.

Ryan Braun singled to left.

Prince Fielder singled to left, with Weeks and Gomez scoring.

Eight pitches from Billingsley, a 2-0 lead for Milwaukee. And the Brewers weren't done.

After Casey McGehee hit a fly ball that Kemp caught at the wall, enabling Braun to tag up and reach third base, a strike-three pitch to Jim Edmonds got away from catcher Russell Martin and Braun scored. Then Alcides Escobar tripled to the right-field gap and Fielder scored, widening the lead to 4-0.

"In the first inning [the Brewers] came out being aggressive," Billingsley said. "I had to change my game plan going into the next five innings [and] throw a little bit more off-speed and mix my pitches more."

The Dodgers got two runs back in the first inning against starter Doug Davis, who began the game with a 2-4 record at Dodger Stadium but held the Dodgers to three earned runs in 51/3 innings Wednesday.

Martin hit a one-out single but was out at second base when Ethier grounded into a fielder's choice. After Kemp singled, Loney singled to drive in Ethier and Blake singled to drive in Kemp.

Garret Anderson, pinch-hitting for Billingsley in the sixth inning, cut the Brewers' lead to 4-3 when he singled against Carlos Villanueva to drive in Loney from second base.

In the fifth inning, Fielder hit a grounder that bounced off Billingsley's left leg.

After Billingsley, 25, retrieved the ball but held up making a throw to first base, he took some practice pitches to ensure his leg was OK and then finished the inning.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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