Hits? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Hits

Dodger fans a have heard the story from the 1960's about Don Drysdale returning to Los Angeles when he heard on the car radio that Sandy Koufax had pitched a no-hitter. "But did he win?" Drysdale said, frantically tuning the radio from station to station. That happened, sort of, to the Dodgers when they slipped by the Angels 1-0 without getting an official hit to win the second game of the series.

Although Joe Torre grew up in Brooklyn, he was a Giants fan at the time so he perhaps doesn't know about this sort of thing -- three men on third, a bird flying out of Casey Stengel cap when he tipped it to the crowd, a home run in 1916 that rolled out to right field, hit the wall, rolled right up it and out of the park -- that seems to happen to the Dodgers.

The Cliff's Notes report on the game: Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito shut out the Angels on five hits and the Dodgers scored a run in the fifth inning and won 1-0.

The Dodgers became the fifth team since 1900 to win without getting a hit. Because Los Angeles didn't have to bat in the ninth, the game doesn't officially qualify as a no-hitter but that is just a technicality. But quite obviously it was a no-hitter no matter who came up with that rule.

In the fifth, Angel starter Jered Weaver (7-8) charged to his right to field Matt Kemp's squibber, but bobbled it. The ruling on whether it was a hit or an error was close but official scorer Don Hartack ruled it an error.

Announcer Vin Scully aptly called a "little squirt job with English all over it"

"I believe if he just picked it up with his bare hand and tossed it, he gets him by a good step and a half," Hartack said. "It really wasn't a bang-bang play. I looked at the replay once and it looked like Kemp was a good seven steps away, so my thought was Weaver had plenty of time to make the out."

Kemp agreed with the scoring. "I hit it off the end of the bat and it had a little funky English on it," he said. "He could have made the play, but he just dropped the ball. It was an error. I mean, if they'd have given me a hit, I'd have been happy. But it was an error."

Kemp stole second and moved right to third when catcher Jeff Mathis' throw sailed into center field, then scored on Blake DeWitt's sacrifice fly.

Starter Chad Billingsley evened his record at 7-7 by scattered three hits over seven innings, then Broxton and Saito (leaving runners at first and second) shut out the Angels over the next two innings for the second night in succession. The Angels finished with five hits, but never got a runner as far as third.

"It was pretty magical," manager Joe Torre said of the remarkable pitchers' duel, and here's the history:

MLB rules deem it doesn't officially qualify as a no-hitter because the Angels didn't pitch nine innings; it was the first time the Dodgers were no-hit since Kent Mercker and Atlanta, April 8, 1994; the first time ever a Dodgers team won a game without a hit and the first time any team won a game without a hit since 1992, when the Indians beat Boston and former Dodgers pitcher Matt Young.

The third shutout in three games gives the Dodgers a string of four games during which they allowed a total of two runs. It was their first back-to-back shutouts since May 29-30, 2007, both of those coming at Washington.

Asked whether he sympathized with Weaver, Billingsley laughed.

"No," he said.

He paused, and said, "But I don't want to ever experience that."

Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier made a couple of key defensive plays, gunning down Erick Aybar at second base when Aybar was trying to turn a single into a double in the sixth and snagging a hard-hit line drive by Howie Kendrick that was hit to right-center field in the seventh. First baseman James Loney stole a hit from Casey Kotchman in the fourth inning with a diving stop.

However, the game-saver was turned in by Luis Maza, a defensive replacement for second baseman Jeff Kent, who extended to make a diving stop on Kotchman's bouncer that was heading into right field with one out in the ninth inning, jumping to his feet for the throw to first. Maza's remarkable play saved a tying run because Kendrick then doubled off Saito. Mike Napoli walked before Saito fanned Reggie Willits for the final out and his 12th save.

Ethier was the Dodgers final batter of the game in the bottom of the eighth and had perhaps the closest thing to a Dodger hit, slicing a shot drive that Garret Anderson ran down in deep left field.

Billingsley earned a third consecutive victory but it didn't come without problems.

He pitched his way out of a first-and-second jam with no outs in the third inning; a two-on, two-out mess in the sixth by striking out Torii Hunter; and a two-out, runner on second threat in the seventh by getting Chone Figgins on a ground out.

He struck out seven and walked three, lowering his ERA to 3.38. "Things are starting to go my way," he said with a wide smile.

Losing No-Hitter History
The four occasions during from 1900 to the present that the winning team didn't collect a hit:

April 12, 1992 -- Boston's Matt Young, who also played for the Dodgers, in a 2-1 loss at Cleveland.

July 1, 1990--Yankees' Andy Hawkins no-hit the White Sox for eight innings in a 4-0 loss at Comiskey Park.

April 30, 1967--Baltimore's Steve Barber (8 2/3) and Stu Miller (1/3) combined to shut out Detroit for nine innings at Memorial Stadium, but the Tigers won 2-1.

April 23, 1964--Houston's Ken Johnson no-hits the Reds for nine innings at Houston, but the Reds won 1-0.

The last time the Dodgers were no-hit at home was on April 8, 1994, by Atlanta's Kent Mercker, and the only other time it happened at Chavez Ravine was on July 28, 1991, when Dennis Martinez pitched a perfect game for Montreal.

Two days before that, Montreal's Mark Gardner no-hit the Dodgers for nine innings on July 26, 1991, then gave up a hit in the 10th and lost the game 1-0.

"Maybe we can win the last game of the series with one hit and work up from there,' Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said, just half kidding.

Lost in all the oddities of the game was the fact the Dodgers have now won an interleague series for just the second time in the past three seasons, and they also won their first series against any team other than the Cincinnati Reds since taking two of three at Milwaukee May 13-15.

The Dodgers improved to 38-42 and remained 2 1/2 games back of first-place Arizona in the National League West and the first-place Angels are 3 1/2 ahead of Oakland in the American League West.

The Dodgers go for a sweep of the Angeles (I haven't written that for a number of years) when they send Derek Lowe (5-7, 4.05 ERA) against the Angels RHP John Lackey (5-1, 1.65 ERA).

Lowe worked seven strong innings against the White Sox, but he allowed a Jermaine Dye homer in the eighth. The Dodgers offense has scored seven runs in his seven losses. Through his last seven starts, Lowe is 3-3.

Lackey, who has a streak of 13 quality starts dating back to last year, threw eight scoreless innings against the Nationals in his last start, a 3-2 victory in Washington. He allowed just two runs -- one earned -- and only threw 97 pitches to pick up his fifth win.

  Score by Innings
Angels	000 000 000-0
Dodgers	000 010 00x-1

 Dodgers	ab r  h  bi  ave		
Pierre lf	4  0  0  0  .277
Ethier rf	3  0  0  0  .275
Martin c	2  0  0  0  .310
Kent 2b        	2  0  0  0  .251
 Maza 2b	0  0  0  0  .236
Loney 1b	3  0  0  0  .303
Kemp cf        	3  1  0  0  .287
DeWitt 3b	2  0  0  1  .265
Berroa ss	3  0  0  0  .175
Billingsley p	1  0  0  0  .071
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Young ph	1  0  0  0  .280
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	24 1 0 1
  Angles	32 0 5 0

  Error- Kemp (7), Berroa (3). RBI- DeWitt
(32). SF- DeWitt. SB- Kemp (16) LOB- Dodgers 
4, Angels 9. 

   Dodgers 	   in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (7-7) 7.0  3  0-0  3  7  3.38
Broxton        	  1.0  1  0-0  0  1  2.48
Saito (sv 12)	  1.0  1  0-0  1  2  2.41
  HBP- Kent. T- 2:34. At- 55,784.
Sweeney might be odd man out
Mark Sweeney entered the game batting just .130 (6-for-46) as a pinch-hitter, a role in which he has more hits than one, Lenny Harris, in major-league history. He was hitless in his 14 other at-bats for the Dodgers this year.

Four months shy of his 39th birthday, he knows the Dodgers plan to activate infielder Rafael Furcal and Nomar Garciaparra from the disabled list within the next eight days and two roster spots will have to be cleared. Garciaparra is on the 60-day DL, which means a spot also will have to be cleared for him on the already-full 40-man roster.

Backup infielders, Angel Berroa (.185 average) and Luis Maza (.236), can play second base, something Garciaparra hasn't done since playing once there in 1996, so at least one of those two probably will stay. And that could put the Sweeney on the bubble.

Dodger Blue Notes-- After Chad Billingsley threw seven shutout innings Saturday, Dodgers starters have compiled a National League-best 2.46 ERA to go with a 7-2 record in 11 games since June 17. The team as a whole has posted a 2.38 ERA in that time. ...Dodgers relievers have thrown 11 straight scoreless innings. ...The Dodgers recognized 12th-round Draft pick Austin Yount on the field before Saturday's game. Yount, a third baseman who's the nephew of Hall of Famer Robin Yount, will be sent to Advanced Rookie Odgen. ...Saturday's crowd of 55,784 marked the third sellout of the season for the Dodgers. ...Dodgers bullpen coach Ken Howell missed his second game because of a foot infection. Jim Slaton, the pitching coach for Triple-A Las Vegas, is filling in for Howell and will accompany the team on the next road trip as well. ...To conclude this weekend's celebration of the Dodgers of the 1970s, legends from that era will sign autographs in Autograph Alley before today's game. Among the expected attendees are Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey, Rick Monday, Bill Russell, Jerry Reuss, and Al Downing.

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