Right Blend Keys 6-3 over Diamondbacks

The eclectic Dodger lineup combined the best of the new and the, well, not so new while earning a win in the rubber game with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The youngsters were led by Chad Billingsley, Andre Ethier, Rafael Furcal and Wilson Betemit, while veterans Kenny Lofton and Takashi Saito combined to take a 6-3 road win Sunday afternoon.

That wasn't the West wind you heard about 3:50 Pacific Time, but collective sigh by the Dodgers after they gained themselves a little breathing room after Colorado knocked off San Diego, thus giving them a two-game margin in the N.L. West.

Billingsley (5-3), who has some vocal critics who deplore his control problems, because he was reaching 90+ pitches in the fifth inning and straining his bullpen as a result.

He quieted them, for a time at least, by throwing 92 pitches (56 strikes) over seven innings, walking only one, and allowing nine hits a two runs while winning his fifth game. The win improved his record to 4-0 in his last six starts.

Three of the hits and a run came in the first inning and the Dodgers trailed 1-0 into the fourth.

The first of a remarkable string of two-strike RBI hits gave L.A. three runs and a lead they would not relinquish.

Ethier doubled to lead off, moved to third on Betemit's ground ball and after Russell Martin was walked intentionally and Billingsley bunted him to second, Furcal chose a 2-2 pitch to launch a two-run triple to right-center to put the Dodgers ahead. Lofton's lined a 0-2 single to make it 3-0.

After Arizona closed to 3-2 with a run in the fifth, Ethier led off the sixth with a single and Betemit -- 4-for-30 on the Dodgers' road trip -- went 3-2 before homering into the right-center field seats.

Jeff Kent, who had made the third out in the first, third and fifth innings, doubled with two out in the seventh on a 2-2 pitch to score J.D. Drew, who had walked. Incidentally, Kent made the third out in the ninth inning, too.

Tim Hamulak took over for Billingsley and worked a scoreless eighth but got into a jam in the ninth, allowing a walk and a single. Saito allowed an RBI double and with the tying run at the plate, nailed down the Dodgers' 68th win of the season and earned his 16th save.

The Dodger defense has a big part in the win, converting a double play with Diamondback runners at first and third with one out in the sixth and two more in the seventh and eighth after Arizona drew walks to lead off each inning.

The Diamondbacks, losers of six of their last seven, fell five games back and stayed 3 1/2 behind Cincinnati in the wild-card race. San Francisco beat the Reds in the other NL-West contest.
  Score by innings
Dodgers   000 032 100-6 
Arizona   100 010 001-3

  Dodgers    ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss     5 1 2 2 .284
Lofton cf     5 0 1 1 .312
Lugo 2b       4 0 1 0 .254
Drew rf       4 1 2 0 .279
Kent 1b       5 0 1 1 .266
Ethier lf     4 2 2 0 .334
Betemit 3b    4 1 1 2 .268
Martin c      3 1 1 0 .285
Billingsley p 2 0 1 0 .091
 Saenz ph     1 0 0 0 .294
 Hamulack p   0 0 0 0 .000
 Saito p      0 0 0 0 .000
    Totals   37 6 12 6
    DBacks   35 3 11 3

  2B - Ethier (19); J Kent (19). 3B - 
Furcal (7). HR - Betemit (15). RBI - 
Furcal 2 (46), Lofton (30), Betemit 
2 (42), Kent (59). S - Billingsley. 
Los Angeles 8, Arizona 8. SB - 
Furcal (32). DP - 3 (Furcal, Lugo 
and Kent 2; Lugo, Furcal and Kent).  

  Dodgers         in h r-er bb so era
Billingsley (5-3) 7.0 9 2 2 1 1 0 3.02
Hamulack          1.1 1 1 1 2 0 0 6.33
Saito (sv 1)      0.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.14
  Time- 2:50. Att- 30,337.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Derek Lowe reported his bruised left hand that was hit by a line drive in the fourth inning of Saturday night's game was still sore but that he would make his regular start Friday against Colorado. …Left-handed reliever Tim Hamulack, who replaced Giovanni Carrara on the roster, had a 1.42 ERA at Las Vegas with 44 strikeouts and 26 walks in 38.1 innings. …Former Dodger minor leaguer Chris Michalak (1-1, 4.76) will pitch for Cincinnati tonight against Brad Penny (13-7, 3.95) in the opener of a three-game home series.