Cubs Beat Billingsley, Dodgers 2-1

Chad Billingsley and Chicago's Ted Lilly put on a pitching demonstration, each allowing for hits over the first six shutout innings before Matt Kemp homered in the top of the seventh and the Cubs scored twice in the bottom of the inning, then held on for a 2-1 win.

A pair of former Dodgers were instrumental in the Chicago win. Lilly and his battery-mate Koyie Hill were both Dodger prospects at one time. Lilly was traded to Montreal in a deal that sent Mark Grudzielanek to Los Angeles and Hill went to Arizona in exchange for Steve Finley. Both were picked up by the Cubs as free agents in 2006.

Lady Luck was fickle as always and switched back and forth between the Cubs and Dodgers over the final innings.

With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Kosuke Fukudome led off with a double into the right field corner and when the ball eluded Andre Ethier for an error, steamed right into third base.

Billingsley then retired the 4-5-6 batters in the Cubs lineup, leaving the runner stranded. A tap to the mound by Derrek Lee was followed by two hard ground balls to James Loney at first base who made sparkling pickups to keep the game scoreless.

Then in the seventh, after Kemp had hit a booming shot into the left field seats in the top of the inning, Hill led off the bottom and cracked a line drive into the right field bleachers on Billingsley's first pitch to tie the game 1-1.

Billingsley, starting to struggle noticeably, gave up three consecutive singles to load the bases, then a sac fly to center by Fukudome (again) drove in the lead run.

In the top of the eighth, pinch-hitter Rafael Furcal walked. Juan Pierre, squaring to bunt, was hit on the leg by Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol and the ball skipped to the backstop, Furcal taking second.

Pierre protested he had been hit and the umpires gathered to talk it over. After some thought, they ruled that yes he was hit but he was attempting to bunt the ball so it was a strike and Furcal went back to first.

Given another chance, Pierre hit into a double play. Martin followed with another walk -- which could have loaded the bases with none out -- but Orlando Hudson struck out to end the inning.

After the game Pierre said the umpire had originally called the pitch a ball. "That's what I get for trying to umpire," he said.

Brent Leach retired the Cubs in the eighth and Kevin Gregg took over to close the game, striking out James Loney, the first time in his career he had fanned four times in a single game and Casey Blake.

Ms. Luck switched sides momentarily and Ethier looped a single to left and Kemp bounced to third base and the ball was fumbled. But she didn't stay long and pinch-hitter Dave Loretta grounded into a force out to end the game.

Billingsley allowed three singles over the first six innings and struck out seven. Lilly gave up three singles through six and was heldped by two of the three double plays Chicago came up with. His fourth hit, like Billingsley's, was a home run.

"It was a hell of a game," Torre said. "Both guys certainly didn't deserve to lose."

The Cubs came into the game hitting .240 with just 64 RBIs with runners in scoring position and less than two outs. By comparison, the Dodgers were hitting .312 with 143 RBIs in the same situations, albeit with 87 more at-bats. In this series, the Cubs are 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position, while the Dodgers are 1-for-11.

The loss snapped a string of four road wins by the Dodgers.

The two teams go head-to-head again this afternoon (Saturday) with Eric Stults (4-1, 4.29), sore thumb and all, opposing RHP Ryan Dempster (3-3, 4.99). When Kuroda returns, either Stults or Milton will be sent to the bullpen, or in Milton's case, perhaps Albuquerque. A solid start is a requisite for Stults.

  Score by Innings
Los Angeles	000 000 100-1
Chicago Cubs	000 000 20x-2

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	3  0  0  0  .397
Martin c	3  0  1  0  .264
Hudson 2b	4  0  1  0  .338
Loney 1b	4  0  0  0  .292
Blake 3b	3  0  1  0  .257
Ethier rf	4  0  1  0  .257
Kemp cf	        3  1  1  1  .296
Castro ss	3  0  0  0  .257
 Leach p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Loretta ph	1  0  0  0  .326
Billingsley 	2  0  0  0  .208
 Furcal ph ss	0  0  0  0  .240
---------------------------------
  Totals  	30  1  5  1  
  Chicago Cubs	31  2  8  5  

  Error- Ethier (3). HR- Kemp (5).
RBI- Kemp (29). LOB- Los Angeles 7,
Chicago Cubs 8. 

  Los Angeles	   in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (6-3) 7.0  8  2-2  2  7  2.80
Leach 	          1.0  0  0-0  0  1  5.14
 T- 2:40. Att- 40,148.
Kuroda to Start Against Arizona
Hiroki Kuroda, who hasn't started since open ing day, will return to the Dodgers' starting rotation against Arizona for the opener of a nine-game homestand, manager Joe Torre announced.

Kuroda, disabled with a strained left oblique muscle for nearly two months, threw a bullpen session in Los Angeles. He had made two rehab starts for Class A Inland Empire and allowed seven runs in five innings in the most recent.

Clayton Kershaw, who was originally scheduled, will be on stand-by in the bullpen should Kuroda need early relief. That maintain the regular five-day rotation for Randy Wolf and Chad Billingsley. If Kershaw is not needed Monday night, he would likely start Thursday night.

Dodger Blue Notes --The Dodgers have the Majors' best record at home (18-5), but are playing well away from Dodger Stadium as well. Their 16-11 mark (.593) on the road is the third best in the big leagues, trailing just the Philadelphia Phillies (16-6) and Cincinnati Reds (13-8).  ...Reliever Cory Wade turned 26 and spent the day in the bullpen. Wade has appeared in 16 games this season.

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