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Dodgers' bats stay hot in 7-1 win over Colorado

Andre Ethier and James Loney each drive in three runs to back up Chad Billingsley.

May 30, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

Could this be the start of something?

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly tap-danced around the question.

Outfielder Andre Ethier said he didn't know.

First baseman James Loney smiled.

"You never know until the next game, right?" Loney said.

You have to pardon their reluctance to make any bold declarations. So far, this has been a dreadful season for the Dodgers.

But you have to start somewhere and the Dodgers have won their last two games, the most recent a 7-1 thumping of the Colorado Rockies on Monday.

In both games, they pitched well, which wasn't a surprise. In both games, they hit, which was.

Ethier and Loney each drove in three runs Monday, as the Dodgers moved to within one victory of their longest winning streak of the season.

Loney is on what amounts to a personal tear, as his home run was his second in four days. He hit one home run in his previous 51 games.

The Dodgers, who improved to five games under .500, have scored 15 runs in their last two games. The only time they scored as many runs in consecutive games was when they played with the wind to their backs at Chicago's Wrigley Field in April.

The beneficiary of the surge Monday was Chad Billingsley, who held the Rockies to one run over seven innings despite giving up a career-high 11 hits.

In every inning Billingsley pitched except the first, the leadoff man reached base.

"I was able to make pitches when I needed to," he said.

The run support Billingsley has received in his last two games -- he also won his previous start -- has been a welcome change from a recent five-start winless stretch in which he posted a 2.91 earned-run average.

The Dodgers scored four runs in the third inning, the first two on a bases-loaded single by Ethier. Matt Kemp drove in Jamey Carroll on a sacrifice fly that was dropped by converging outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, and Kemp scored on a single to center field by Loney.

Billingsley gave up a fourth-inning home run to Ty Wigginton that cut the lead to 4-1, but the Dodgers responded with three runs in the fifth inning.

Ethier singled in Carroll, who led off the inning with a triple, and Loney followed with a home run to right field.

The Dodgers finished with 11 hits, adding to the 17 they had the previous day.

Loney was three for four. Ethier, Carroll and Rafael Furcal each had two hits. Jason Hammel gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 42/3 innings.

"When everyone's hitting, you can't pitch around anyone," Ethier said. "If everyone's hitting, how do you choose who you go after and who you don't go after? When everyone's hitting, it creates opportunities in front and behind you. That's why hitting's contagious."

In the four games Ethier has played since being held out of the lineup for an entire three-game series in Houston, he is eight for 14. He hit .079 in the 11 games leading up to the series against the Astros.

The Rockies started the season 11-2 but have won only 14 of their last 39 games. They have lost six of their last seven games.

Another fire

The same Dodger Stadium reserve-level storage room that caught fire Saturday night caught fire early Monday.

About 5 a.m. Monday, there was a "small rekindling" of the fire from Saturday night, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said. The blaze was extinguished within minutes.

The fire Saturday night took place while the Dodgers were playing the Florida Marlins. Scott said the fire department is investigating the cause of the fires.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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