After an intense extra inning victory thanks to newcomer Hanley Ramirez on Friday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers still had something to prove that they are the better team in the NL West.
The Dodger bats were still hot against the San Francisco Giants as recently slumping Matt Kemp broke out to hit his 15th home run on the season against starter Barry Zito that gave the Dodgers 2-0 lead.
Dodger starter Chad Billingsley looked sharper and fresher than he has all season shutting down the Giants batters as they faced his wrath on the mound.
With Luis Cruz on base, catcher A.J. Ellis doubled deep to left that advanced Cruz to third base. Billingsley decided to help his own cause as he hit a sacrifice fly that scored Cruz to increase the Dodger lead 3-0 in the fifth inning.
After his previous night’s heroics, Hanley Ramirez hit a single to third, that got Kemp out at second but allowed Ramirez to sprint to first base. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a huge RBI double to right field that scored Ramirez. After that Giants manager Bruce Bouchey had seen enough and decided to give Zito the afternoon off, and brought in reliever George Kontos. Kontos was able to end the inning with no further damage from the Dodgers as he got Cruz to fly out to right field.
In the top of the seventh inning, Kontos was not so lucky as A.J. Ellis slugged a home run deep to left field that made it a 5-0 Dodgers lead. With no luck against Zito earlier, Andre Either graced a hit and just made it to first base thanks to a throwing error by Brandon Crawford who misjudged the ball. Kemp returned to hit a RBI double that scored Either. The Dodger bats were far from done as they showed no signs of cooling down, thanks to a double by Ramirez that scored Kemp, and the Dodgers led 7-0.
“He’s like having another Matt Kemp. You get a guy who can fly and has power” said manager Don Mattingly regarding Hanley Ramirez.
Billingsley continued strong and in the zone as he sat down Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and got Angel Pagan to fly out to left to end the bottom of the seventh inning.
In the eight inning former Dodger Brad Penny faced his old club as he made it quickly out of the inning by getting Cruz to fly out to center and struck out A.J. Ellis.
After allowing Marco Scutaro and Brandon Crawford on base, Dodger manager Don Mattingly decided it was time for Billingsley to retire for the afternoon and brought in trusty reliever Javy Guerra. Guerra pitched outstanding as he kept the shutout alive ending the inning as Ryan Theriot grounded out to second base.
Ninth inning the Dodgers continued the onslaught, with both Mark Ellis and Tony Gywnn Jr on second and first base, Kemp add to his RBI resume as hit a double that scored Ellis. Ramirez wasn’t finished as he also hit a double that scored Gywnn and Kemp to increase the lead 10-0. The first time since 1997 the Dodgers have scored 10 or more runs against the Giants.
Javy Guerra ended up closing out the inning getting Justin Christian who pinched hit for Cabrera to fly out to left center. Then struck out Joaquin Arias to end the game as the Dodger destroyed the rival Giants 10-0.
The Dodgers Chad Billingsley (6-9) pitched seven strong innings on four hits, two strike outs for the win. The Giants Barry Zito (8-7) pitched five innings, and gave up four runs on seven hits with four strike outs.
Billingsley talked about the difference in his team now verses a month ago, “the last time we were in here we were a different team. Hanley has been a good addition and Kemp hit the home run early and we just continued it.”
Zito spoke about starting off giving up a home run to Matt Kemp, “Kemp has been swinging the bat well lately. He took a good swing on a good pitch. It was right where I wanted it.”
The Dodgers just one game behind the first place leading Giants, as they go for the sweep on Sunday sending Clayton Kershaw to the mound to battle Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.