Angels Outlast Dodgers 10-7 in Series Final

If you were told the Dodgers would score four in the second with Chad Billingsley on the mound, you probably would have chalked up the final game in the series with the Angels as a win and would have taken your daughter fishing. But the lead disappeared quicker than a triple-dip ice-cream cone in Phoenix in August and the Dodgers dropped a 10-7 decision.

It was not Billingsley's finest performance of the young season and the tired Dodgers bullpen was hit hard and often as they attempted to come back from a deficit that grew to 7-4 at one time.

They got an emotional lift when rookie Jamie Hoffmann, starting for the first time in place of Andre Ethier who is out with a bad toe. In his third major league at-bat he slugged his first home run, then added an RBI double in the eighth.

A promising rally in the eighth threatened to overcome the Angels' lead but the Dodgers left the based loaded and another three runs in the ninth crushed any hopes that were left lurking around.

L.A. used five relievers to steam the tied of Angels hits but they suffered the same fate as Billingsley, allowing seven hits and five runs as the Dodgers dropped their fifth home game and are now 18-5 at the confines of Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers didn't score in the first inning for only the 11th time in 43 games this season, but in the second inning they wracked up five hits, four in succession to take a 4-0 lead.

Casey Blake, who was hitting .426 over the previous 12 games and James Loney's double to the right field wall drove him in. It was Loney's 31st RBI of the season, topping the L.A. list.

Matt Kemp singled before Hoffman, with his family from Minnesota watching, drove a high shot over the left-field wall for what seemed like a safe 4-0 lead.

But Billingsley was having trouble getting his curve in the strike zone and the Angels bounced back to score twice in the third on a bunt, a double and a single.

After Juan Pierre singled in the second, the Dodgers sent 17 men to the plate. Two of them walked and the rest were retired until Pierre doubled with two out in the seventh.

Meanwhile Scioscia's guys rang up three runs in the sixth on a walk and three straight singles plus a sac fly. Billingsley was obviously tiring and threw 38 pitches in the inning. His totals hit 108 after retiring the final Angel and he was lifted.

Cory Wade came out of the bullpen and allowed three runs on three hits and a walk without getting out of the inning. Will Ohman got the final out but the Angeles led 7-4.

The Dodgers revived a bit in the eighth, ripping off four hits. Orlando Hudson beat out an infield hit to boost his streak to 14 straight games. Blake singled him to third and Loney's fly drove him in Kemp singled and Hoffmann added an RBI double to his debut, cutting the deficit to one run.

Juan Castro was walked intentionally to fill the bases and it worked out just right for the Angels. Pinch-hitter Rafael Furcal bounced to first base and Kemp was forced at the plate. Pierre then scorched a shot to second base to end the rally.

Rookie Brent Leach gave up a monster triple to dead center with one out and Ramon Troncoso took over. When the smoke cleared the Angeles had three more runs and a solid 10-6 lead.

Doubles by Hudson and Blake added a meaningless run in the ninth.

Billingsley slid to 6-2 with the loss and the Angeles picked up thier 12th win in the last 18 games against the Dodgers.
br> Blake finished with three hits and a .305 average. Pierre, who also stole a pair of bases, Hudson, Kemp and Hoffman had a pair of hits each.

The Dodgers left after the game for a short but tough seven-game road trip that opens with three in Denver and finishes with four in Chicago.

LHP Eric Stults (4-1, 3.82 ERA) will start the opener this afternoon, his injured thumb still painful but operational. Stults was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday night because of the jammed thumb. He's 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA lifetime against Colorado and 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in Coors Field. The Dodgers are 6-1 in Stults' starts.

The Dodgers will face LHP Jorge De La Rosa (0-4, 4.27 ERA) who is better than his record indicates. Plagued by poor run support, he allowed seven runs on five hits in his last start against the Braves. In his only start against the Dodgers this season, he allowed 11 hits in 5.1 innings but didn't give up a run.

  Score by Innings
Angels	002 003 203-10
Dodgers	040 000 021- 7

  Dodgers	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	4  0  2  0  .388
 Leach p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
Martin c	5  0  0  0  .260
Hudson 2b	4  2  2  0  .342
Blake 3b lf	5  2  3  1  .305
Loney 1b	4  1  1  2  .282
Kemp cf	        5  1  2  0  .289
Hoffmann rf	4  1  2  4  .333
Castro ss	3  0  0  0  .346
 Loretta ph 3b	0  0  0  0  .333
Billingsley p	2  0  0  0  .227
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Ohman p	0  0  0  0  .500
 Ethier ph	1  0  0  0  .256
 Mota p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Furcal ph ss	1  0  0  0  .238
  Totals  	37  7 12  7
  Angels	38 10 16 10

  Error- Blake (4). 2B- Loney (9), Pierre
(9), Hoffmann (1), Hudson (16), Blake (9)
 HR- Hoffmann (1). RBI- Loney 2 (32),
Hoffmann 4 (4), Blake (28). SF- Loney.
LOB- Dodgers 8, Angels 7. SB- Pierre 2
(9). DP- Loney and Csatro; Loney, Hudson
and Loney.

  Dodgers	  in  h r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (6-2) 6.0  9  5-4  1  6  2.82
Wade	          0.2  3  2-2  1  1  6.14
Ohman 	          0.1  0  0-0  0  0  5.25
Mota	          1.0  0  0-0  1  0  7.94
Leach	          0.1  1  1-1  0  0  7.20
Troncoso	  0.2  3  2-2  1  1  2.22
  PB- Martin (1). T- 3:48. Att- 54,122.
Interleague Blues
A basic flaw in Interleague play is the fact that the teams in your division do not play the same American League teams, making it an apples and oranges sort of thing.
br> And in the battle for Los Angeles, the Dodgers have been taking a regular beating. In losing two of the first three they are 22-35 (.379) since 2000. Among regular National League opponents, the Dodgers have a worse winning percentage against only St. Louis (.356). It has encompassed four managers, five general managers and two ownerships groups.
br> There is perhaps the revenge factor lurking around the corner. The Angels are guided by manager Mike Scioscia and coaches Mickey Hatcher, Alfredo Griffin, Tom Paciorek and Dino Ebel -- former Dodgers all and most of them discarded in the FOX-led purge of anything Dodgers after they bought the franchise from the O'Malley family to initiate some of the darkest years in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
br> Dodger Blue Notes
--Pierre's two hits raised his average to .388 and his two steals tied Matt Kemp for the club lead with nine. ...When Billingsley faltered, it was only the third time a Dodgers starting pitcher has lost since April 29. ...Hoffmann said of his first hit and first home run, "It felt like I was floating going around the bases," said Hoffmann, who was pushed out of the dugout by teammates into a curtain call. ...Kemp overran a single to center in the second inning, then threw Erick Aybar out at second attempting to stretch the hit. It was Kemp's seventh assist, a National League-leading total. ...Ethier, out with a battered toe, pinch-hit and struck outin the seventh, leaving him 2-for-17 in the series. ...The loss was the Dodgers first in seven one-run decisions at home. ...Ethier sat out the game and Furcal was given the day off. Martin was moved into the #2 slot in the batting order and Blake boosted up to #4. It worked out half the time: Martin was 0-for-5, Blake 3-or-5. ...Billingsley has lasted six or more innings in all nine of his starts. ...Although they lost two of three, the series was successful in that the attendance was abut 165,000. ...The Padres have won nine in a row and still trail Los Angeles by 7 1/2 games.