Los Angeles (54-55) at Florida (51-58)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL, US
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 6:05 pm EDT Sat Aug 5, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Following a dismal stretch upon their return from the All-Star break, Chad Billingsley started the Los Angeles Dodgers’ current seven-game winning streak.

He can help the Dodgers set a new season-high for consecutive wins when they meet the Florida Marlins in the middle game of their weekend series on Saturday.

Billingsley (2-3, 3.93 ERA) gave up a run and four hits with five walks over six innings of a 13-1 rout of Washington on July 28. That also ended a season-high eight-game losing streak for the Dodgers (54-55).

The rookie right-hander appreciated the Dodgers’ offensive performance in that victory after they averaged 3.25 runs during his first eight outings.

“It made me confident to pitch,” said Billingsley, who threw a season-high 111 pitches. “I still wanted to work out there and get ahead of hitters and hit the zone.”

Billingsley, who will face Florida for the first time, has struggled with control, walking 38 in 50 1-3 innings. He is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break, however, which may have helped him maintain his spot in the rotation after Los Angeles acquired four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux on Monday at the trade deadline.

The Dodgers’ pitching staff has been dominant in the team’s winning streak, posting a 2.57 ERA. Derek Lowe continued that trend Friday, holding Florida to a run and five hits over seven innings en route to a 6-2 win in the series opener.

Lowe struggled in July, going 2-3 with a 7.11 ERA in six July starts.

“There were a few ghosts in the back of my mind,” Lowe said. “It seemed it had been a long time since I pitched a good game.”

Center fielder Kenny Lofton went 3-for-5 on Friday, including his second homer, and had two RBIs. He is 12-for-19 with eight RBIs in his last four games against Florida.

“Things are going well for us now,” Lofton said. “We knew we were going to turn it around sooner or later. We’re winning, and that’s that.”

Shortstop Rafael Furcal also had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, batting .435 (20-for-46) with two homers and nine RBIs in that span.

Los Angeles’ solid play comes after it dropped 13 of 14 following the All-Star break. The Dodgers last won eight in a row from April 12-20, 2005 and have not won a series against Florida (51-58) since taking two of three from May 4-6, 2004.

The Dodgers will be facing a rookie when NL ERA-leader Josh Johnson (9-5, 2.52) goes for his team-leading 10th win for Florida. In a 15-2 win over Philadelphia on Monday, the right-hander gave up just one run and five hits over seven innings.

He also tied a season-high with eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter.

“He was outstanding,” Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. “He stayed ahead of hitters and made them hit his pitch.”

Johnson is making his first career appearance against Los Angeles.

Florida rookie shortstop Hanley Ramirez was 2-for-3 with a double Friday and is hitting .406 (13-for-32) over the last eight games.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Billingsley PHI vs. J. Johnson SD
7-4 Record 12-7
3.80 ERA 3.10
59 K 133
58 BB 68
1.67 WHIP 1.30


Saturday, Aug 5