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Dodgers are slammed by Astros, 12-0

Chad Billingsley gives up two home runs in 31/3 innings, including one to Jordan Schafer with the bases loaded.

April 22, 2012|By Jim Peltz

HOUSTON — Andre Ethier raced to the right-field wall and jumped as high as he could in hopes of snagging a fly ball hit by the Houston Astros' Jordan Schafer against the Dodgers' Chad Billingsley.

But the ball skipped off Ethier's glove into the stands, Schafer had the first grand slam of his career and the Dodgers were in a big hole in the second inning Sunday.

They then dug themselves only deeper as the Astros pummeled the Dodgers, 12-0, ending the Dodgers' winning streak at three games and giving the Dodgers a split of their six-game trip to Milwaukee and Houston.

After one of the best starts in baseball this year, the Dodgers (12-4) suffered their worst loss since Aug. 15, 2010, when they fell to the Atlanta Braves, 13-1.

"You just kind of chalk it up as one of those days," Manager Don Mattingly said. "These games don't happen to us very often."

The Dodgers also were shut out for the first time this season, and they had their worst shutout loss since a 13-0 loss to the Angels in June 2004.

Very little went right Sunday. Billingsley was ineffective and Dodgers batters mustered only three hits against starter Wandy Rodriguez (1-2) in seven innings.

Matt Kemp, the major leagues' hottest batter, was hitless in three at-bats, had his hitting streak ended at 10 games and made a big gaffe in center field in the fourth inning.

Kemp misjudged Jason Castro's line drive, which soared over Kemp's head, rolled up the center-field incline at Minute Maid Park known as "Tal's Hill" and reached the wall before Kemp retrieved it.

Castro's triple led to a three-run inning for the Astros which, after Schafer's grand slam, was icing on the cake for Houston.

Only five of the runs given up by Billingsley (2-1) in his 31/3 innings were earned as the Dodgers committed three errors. But poor defense wasn't Billingsley's only problem.

The right-hander struggled from the start even though he gave up only four hits. He gave up a two-run home run to Carlos Lee in the first inning, walked four Astros and threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score in the fourth inning.

"A lot of miscues all around and just a tough day," Ethier said. "I don't think you can point the finger at one guy."

Indicative of Billingsley's day was that Schafer's grand slam came after Billingsley had walked Rodriguez, the pitcher, to load the bases. Rodriguez was trying to bunt during the at-bat.

"It's tough to pitch when you're not getting ahead of hitters and not throwing strikes," Billingsley said, adding that groin soreness he felt during his prior start "wasn't an issue" Sunday.

Ethier said he thought he had a chance to catch Schafer's grand slam.

"I didn't think [the ball] was going to go that far, at first," Ethier said. "I was trying to get back to the wall and get in position and just jumped. It just had a little bit more where it carried over up my head and slipped right off my glove."

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