Billingsley ends winless drought in Los Angeles Dodgers’ 5-2 win at Philly

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Chad Billingsley threw strikes, got important outs and put his team in position to win.

For change, it was enough.

Billingsley struck out seven in seven sharp innings to earn his first victory in a month and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 Thursday.

Billingsley (8-4) allowed one run and four hits, winning for the first time since he beat Houston on July 23. The 22-year-old right-hander was a hard-luck loser in that span. He lost consecutive games 1-0 and was 0-4 with a no-decision in five starts.

“My command was good,” Billingsley said. “I was putting guys away when I needed to.”

Juan Pierre drove in the go-ahead run with a bloop single in the seventh inning, and the Dodgers scored three insurance runs off struggling reliever Tom Gordon in the eighth to win for the sixth time in eight games.

“A week ago, we looked like a dead team when we weren’t scoring runs,” manager Grady Little said. “Now it looks like a different team.”

Takashi Saito pitched a perfect ninth for his 34th save in 37 chances.

Los Angeles, which was 2 1/2 games behind wild-card leading San Diego before Thursday, took two of three in Philadelphia.

The injury-depleted Phillies entered five games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets and one behind the Padres.

“In order for us to be a good team, we need to get our regular players back and our pitching has to be consistent,” manager Charlie Manuel said.

Ramon Martinez singled leading off the seventh against J.C. Romero (0-2). He went to second on Billingsley’s sacrifice, advanced to third on Rafael Furcal’s groundout and scored on Pierre’s soft fly to center.

“The at-bat before you hit a line drive right at them and then you bloop one over their heads,” Pierre said. “I just found the right spot.”

Furcal’s RBI double in the fifth put the Dodgers ahead 1-0, but Pat Burrell doubled in a run with two outs in the sixth to tie it.

Gordon, the Phillies’ former closer, allowed three runs and didn’t record an out in the eighth. Jeff Kent singled in a run and Martinez had a two-run single with two outs to make it 5-1.

“Flash wasn’t get his breaking ball over and his command wasn’t good. That’s what did him in,” Manuel said.

Tadahito Iguchi hit a solo homer in the eighth off Jonathan Broxton. It was the first homer allowed by Broxton in 96 2-3 innings. That was the longest streak in team history and fifth-longest in the majors since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958.

Phillies starter Fabio Castro overcame control problems and allowed just one run in five innings. The 22-year-old left-hander walked six, gave up two hits and pitched out of trouble most of the game.

Castro became the 12th pitcher to start for Philadelphia this season and fourth to make his first career start. He was recalled from Triple-A Ottawa on Monday to replace injured reliever Mike Zagurski and moved into the rotation when ace Cole Hamels landed on the disabled list.

After the game, Castro returned to Ottawa and reliever Brian Sanches was called up.

Castro’s wildness finally cost him in the fifth when he walked the opposing pitcher with one out. Billingsley scored on Furcal’s double to right-center.

Pinch-hitter Shane Victorino walked to start the bottom of the sixth, stole second and scored on Burrell’s shot off the center-field wall with two outs.

Castro retired the side in the first, but walked the bases loaded in the second inning. Billingsley then worked a full count after falling behind 0-2, but swung and missed at a pitch out of the strike zone to bail out the young lefty.


Castro put down a perfect bunt in the third inning for his first career sacrifice. … The four pitchers to make their first career start with the Phillies this season—Castro, J.A. Happ, Zack Segovia and Kyle Kendrick— combined were 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA in that outing. … Pierre’s RBI single extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He was thrown out trying to steal second base by catcher Carlos Ruiz, ending a career-best streak of 18 straight successful attempts.

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