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Ethier's Pinch-Single Backs Dominant Dodger Pitching

Not even the stomach flu could keep Andre Ethier down, as he delivered a two-out, two-run, pinch-hit single in the seventh inning to support more wonderful Dodger pitching, giving them their fifth win in six games, a 2-0 final over the Padres. It was the Dodgers fourth shutout in their last six games.

Chad Billingsley was great in his six innings, not allowing a run and pushing his scoreless streak to 15 consecutive innings. He ran into some trouble in the fourth inning, loading the bases with nobody out, but got out of the jam with a groundout, a popout, and a strikeout to end the frame.In the last six games, Dodger starting pitchers have allowed just one earned run in 43 innings.

Billingsley was only at 84 pitches through six innings, and appeared primed to go deep into this game, but Padres manager Bud Black forced the Dodgers hand by walking Russell Martin intentionally to load the bases with two outs. Rather than have Billingsley hit, Joe Torre tabbed Ethier, a late scratch due to the illness that has also claimed Jonathan Broxton and Brad Ausmus in recent days in the Dodger clubhouse.

Hong-Chih Kuo has lobbied the coaching staff to let him pitch more, and tonight he got his wish, pitching two scoreless innings, allowing a pair of hits but striking out five. Kuo threw a season-high 34 pitches, and threw two innings in a game for the third time this month.

Jonathan Broxton retired the side in order in the ninth for his 20th save, and it’s always nice to see Matt Stairs make the last out.

Hiroki Kuroda faces Clayton Richard in tomorrow night’s game.