Pitching Falters Again in Dodgers Loss

The general thought before the season started was that the Dodgers were painfully shy of quality starters. That's turned out to be correct so far this season and a secondary effect of that has resulted in an overworked the bullpen. Last night Los Angeles collapsed in both departments, losing 11-3 to Milwaukee.

After winning 11-6 in the opening game of the series, Milwaukee hit double figures again in the second game, breaking up a 4-3 contest with seven runs off the Dodgers bullpen and winning 11-3.

Trailing 4-0 after the top of the first, Los Angeles fought back to close the gap, but the Brewers scored five in the eighth to put the game away.

Chad Billingsley pitched five shutout innings and allowed seven hits after being torched for five hits and four runs in the first inning. He walked a pair and struck out three and took the loss, his second in four decisions.

Relievers Ron Belisario surrendered three runs; Ramon Troncoso and George Sherrill gave up a pair including one of the unearned type.

All in all, the Brewers banged out 13 hits, running their total to 28 hits and 22 runs in two games against what was expected to be the Dodgers top two starters, Clayton Kershaw and Billingsley.

It was the Dodgers 10th loss in 15 games, dropping consecutive home games for the first time this season. Despite the two easy wins over the Dodgers, the Brewers have only four victories in their last dozen games.

Los Angeles has made a number of pitchers look like Cy Young candidates so far this season. The Brewers' Doug Davis won his first against three losses with an earned run average of 8.13. He allowed seven hits and three runs in 5.1 innings and for only the second time in six starts he lasted five innings.

Both Davis and Billingsley struggled in the first inning. Billingsley gave up five of his seven hits, including four straight singles to open the game. Davis retired Reed Johnson in the bottom of the first, then allowed hits to four of the next five Dodgers.

Russell Martin singled but Andre Ethier bounced into a fielder's choice for the second out. Then singles by Matt Kemp, James Loney (rbi) and Casey Blake (rbi) cut the margin to 4-2.

Billingsley adjusted and retired 10 of the next 11 Brewers, save for a walk and a hit batsman, and didn't allow another Milwaukee player past second base until a two-out double in the sixth before leaving for a pinch-hitter.

The Dodgers cut the deficit to 4-3 in the sixth after Loney and Ronnie Belliard walked and Garret Anderson lined a single to center that broke an 0-for-17 dry spell for him.

Belliard walked two and allowed an RBI single before giving way to Troncoso who allowed a walk and was banged around for three hits. When the dust cleared, Milwaukee led 9-3.

The ubiquitous George Sherrill was called in with the hope that he would find the key to his ineffectiveness but that wasn't the case. He allowed a walk, single and double to added two more to the total. After the inning ended on a double-play line shot to Blake at third, Sherrill flipped his glove to a boy in the seats behind the Dodgers' dugout as he angrily walked off the field.

Casey Blake errors in the eighth and ninth accounted for unearned runs for both Troncoso and Sherrill.

The two teams had 25 hits and left 22 on base, 12 of them by the Dodgers. Milwaukee was 8-for-18 with runners in scoring position and L.A. converted 3 of 14.

Johnson left six runners on base while going 0-for-5. Matt Kemp and Blake also had forgettable performances. Kemp had one hit in five trips but struck out three times and hit into a double play. Blake had two boots in the field, ending the Dodgers six game errorless streak, and was one for five and also hit into a double play to end the game.

Martin, Ethier Loney and Belliard had two hits each. The Dodgers' 12 hits were all singles.

"We crept back into that game and then it got away from us," Manager Joe Torre said. "I thought Billingsley pitched a heck of a game after the first inning."

Probable Starters
Tonight, RHP Dave Bush (1-2, 4.60) vs. RHP John Ely (0-1, 7.50)
Friday, vs Colorado, RHP Esmil Rodgers (0-1, 5.63) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (3-1, 2.08)
Saturday, RHP Jhoulys Chacin (1-0, 0.00) vs. Charlie Haeger.
Sunday, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (6-0, 0.87) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 4.99)

Dodger Blue Notes -- The nine runs allowed in the second inning of the first game in the series were the most allowed by Dodger pitchers since giving up a nine-spot to the Devil Rays on June 11, 2002 in Tampa, FL. History says the Dodgers were not out of the game when they were down 10-0 as the 1899 Brooklyn Superbas stormed back from 10-0 and won 11-10 on June 2 of that year. This comeback represents the largest in Dodger franchise history. The largest comeback in L.A. Dodger history is six runs, which has been done numerous times with the most recent being April 19, 2005 at Milwaukee. ...Major League Baseball and the Elias Sports Bureau yesterday made a scoring change to the April 22 contest at Cincinnati. In the bottom of the first, the Reds' Chris Dickerson was credited with an infield single, but that has been changed to a throwing error on first baseman James Loney, his first miscue this season. In the process, Dodger starter Vicente Padilla will have an earned run changed to an unearned run, dropping his ERA from 7.06 to 6.65. ...Loney had two hits and is batting nearly .500 at home this season. ...Going back to Brooklyn, the 185 millionth fan crossed through the turnstiles before the game. That represents the most cumulative fans in baseball or any other sport. ...Despite the loss, the Dodgers are 12-7 on Cinco De Mayo, including four straight victories from 2006-09.  (Dodgers Publicity)

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