Billingsley Works into Fifth in Win Over Cubs

The Dodgers scored early and late to trip the Chicago Cubs 7-3 in a game that saw a Cactus League attendance mark of 13,391 set. Manny Ramirez homer in the first, Nick Johnson homered in the eighth and Chad Billingsley worked into the fifth inning, allowing just one run.

Starter Chad Billingsley made his third start of the spring season and allowed five hits and a single run, retiring the first two Cubs in the fifth before hitting his pitch count, which was probably 80. He threw 78, with 25 of them coming in the first inning.

Billingsley, was named to his first All-Star team in 2009 and won at least 12 games for the third consecutive season. His 40 wins since 2007 lead the Dodgers over that time and his 380 strikeouts over the last two seasons rank fourth in the National League. The Ohio native has a 47-30 career record to go along with a 3.55 ERA in his 129 career games (100 starts).

Jon Link closed out the fifth for Billingsley. Charlie Haeger (1-0) gave up the tying run in the sixth but got the win when the Dodgers scored twice in the sixth. Jeff Weaver and RHP Luis Ayala closed out the win.

The contest saw Manny Ramirez make his first appearance in the field after serving as a designated hitter over the early part of the season. The teams did not use a DH in this game.

The winning run came in the sixth when Andre Ethier singled, Garrett Anderson doubled and James Loney's sacrifice fly broke the 2-2 deadlock. Blake DeWitt singled in a fourth run later in the inning.

Johnson's three-run home run in the seventh served as the coup d'grace, boosting the Dodgers lead to 7-2.

Quick Start
With one out in the first, Matt Kemp dropped a double into right-center, took third on Andre Ethier's fly to right and trotted home when Manny Ramirez, playing his first game in the field, banged his first home run midway up the left-field berm off Cub starter Ryan Dempster. It was Manny's second extra base hit and his second and third runs batted in.

Billingsley allowed a run in the second on a two-out double by third baseman Chad Tracy and a bloop single to right off the bat of catcher Geovanny Soto.

The Dodgers had a great chance to add to their lead in the second when Casey Blake walked and Blake DeWitt sliced a single into left field. Blake hustled to third as DeWitt to second on the throw. But Brad Ausmus popped to second, Billingsley tapped a grounder back to the mound and Rafael Furcal bounced to short as his average dipped to .192.

Ramirez hit into a double play to end the third, then thrilled the crowd with a running, over the shoulder catch just at the left field fence to open the fourth, taking a double away from Cub outfielder Tyler Colvin.

Billingsley allowed a pair of two-out singles in the fourth but he escaped without further damage. He retired the first two in the fifth, hit is pitch count and was replaced by Jon Link, who came to the Dodgers from the White Sox in the Juan Pierre trade. Link caught a line drive back to the box on the first pitch to end the inning.

Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger took over in the top of the sixth and struggled with his control.

He threw six straight balls, walking Derrek Lee. Jim Adduci ran for him and stole second, then Colvin singled him across to tie the game. Colvin stole second and it was apparent Haeger was in big trouble.

Then Mike Fontenot hit a soft liner to first for the first out, Alfonso Soriano struck out. He went 3-1 to Tracy and walked him. Soto ran the count to 3-2, then popped up to end the inning, keeping the damage to a minimum.

Haeger is out of options and would be lost if not placed on the 25-man roster. Manager Joe Torre is considering him as a spot starter and in long relief. He is tough to hit when he gets his fluttering pitch over the plate and he demonstrated just that with a 1-2-3 eighth.

Ethier rolled a single into right field to open the sixth and Xavier Paul ran for him. Garrett Anderson, taking over in left for Ramirez, ripped a double into the right field corner. Loney's 400-foot sac fly to center put the Dodgers back on top 3-2.

Casey Blake walked, Nick Green ran for him and moved to second as Anderson scored on DeWitt's second hit of the game. Brad Ausmus hit into a double play to end the inning.

The game came apart for the Cubs in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter A.J. Ellis and Jamey Carroll singled and Nick Johnson tucked a home run just inside the left-field foul pole for three runs and 7-2 lead.

Jeff Weaver worked the eighth. Xavier Paul made a sliding catch in right field for the first out, a smash off first baseman Ron Belliard's glove deflected to Chin-Lung Hu at second, who threw to Weaver covering first for the second out (3-4-1 if you are scoring at home) and a pop to third ended inning.

Luis Ayala came in to close things out in the ninth. He gave up a leadoff double, then got a ground out to short. Johnson just missed a diving catch in center field and it went for another double but the runner could only advance to third. A grounder accounted for the second out and the third Chicago run but a fly to right ended the game.

Attendance Record Set
You can never underestimate the effects of having your own television network or the appeal of the lovable Cubbies. A new attendance figure of 13,391 topped the 13,336 mark set in 2004. Nine of the top 10 attendance marks have come in a game involving the Cubs.

 Score by innings
Chicago Cubs	010 001 001-3
Los Angeles	200 002 30x-7

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	2  0  0  0  .192
 Carroll ss	2  1  1  0  .167
Kemp cf	        3  1  1  0  .250
 Johnson cf	1  1  1  3  .292
Ethier rf	3  0  1  0  .310
 Paul pr-rf	1  1  0  0  .273
Ramirez lf	2  1  1  2  .385
 Anderson lf	2  1  2  0  .444
 Weaver p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Ayala p	0  0  0  0  .000
Loney 1b	2  0  1  1  .250
 Belliard 1b	1  0  0  0  .200
Blake 3b	1  0  0  0  .389
 Green pr-3b	1  0  0  0  .200
DeWitt 2b	3  0  2  1  .393
 Hu pr-2b	1  0  0  0  .286
Ausmus c	3  0  0  0  .133  
 Repko lf	0  0  0  0  .000  
Billingsley p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Link p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Mientkiewicz ph 1  0  0  0  .333
 Haeger p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Ellis ph-c	2  1  1  0   .263
----------------------------------
 Totals	        32 7 11 7
 Chicago	        34 3   8 3

 Two-base hits- Kemp (2), Anderson (1).
HR- Ramirez (1), Johnson (1). RBI- Ramirez
2 (3), Loney (3), DeWitt (4), Johnson 3 (6).
LOB- Los Angeles 7, Chicago 6, RISP- Los
Angeles 3-for-10, Chicago 3-for-11. 
SF- Loney. SB- Furcal (1). CS- Loney (1). 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley	4.2  5  1-1  1  3  1.86
Link	        0.1  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
Haeger (1-0)	2.0  1  1-1  2  2  4.50
Weaver	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
Ayala	        1.0  2  1-1  0  0  5.40
 T- 2:35. Att- 13,291 (recored). 
Dodger Blue Notes-- This was be the one and only meeting of the spring for the two storied Los Angeles and Chicago franchises. In 2010, Los Angeles will visit Wrigley Field from May 25-27 and the Cubs head west to Dodger Stadium from July 8-11. ...Dodger reliever Cory Wade underwent right shoulder arthroscopy performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles and the 55-minute procedure was a success. The operation involved cleaning up the bursa, cartilage and tendon fraying that was causing the pain in his shoulder. Wade will return to Camelback Ranch today and begin his rehab. ...The Dodgers opened Spring Training with 66 players in Major League camp and pared that number down to 46 by reassigning LHP Juan Perez, OF Prentice Redman, OF Trayvon Robinson and INF Russell Mitchell to minor league camp. ...Second baseman Blake DeWitt ranks seventh in the Cactus League with an on-base percentage of .467. On the mound, both Ramon Ortiz (9.0 IP) and Carlos Monasterios (8.0) are holding on to an ERA of 0.00 while Ortiz is tied for third in the league with 11 strikeouts. ...The Dodgers welcomed a group of premium and sponsorship clients that will be getting a bunting tutorial from Dodger legend Maury Wills. The group flew in and took in the contest with the White Sox before enjoying a post-game reception with Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, outfielder Garret Anderson, first baseman James Loney and catcher A.J. Ellis. Some of the Dodger sponsors represented here are Coke, Farmer John, Time Warner Cable, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Carl's Jr., Jet Blue and New Era. ...A bevy of national sports media descended on Camelback Ranch today as MLB Network's Peter Gammons and Trenni Kusnierek are here along with ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and USA Today's Bob Nightengale. Additionally, KCAL's Gary Miller and Dodger blogger Eric Stephen of "True Blue LA" are making their first visit of the spring to the club's award-winning facility. Dodgers Publicity.  

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