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Chad Billingsley pitches Dodgers past Astros 2-0

Chad Billingsley pitches Dodgers past Astros 2-0
HOUSTON (AP) - Chad Billingsley is off to the best start for a Dodgers pitcher in seven seasons.

But the 24-year-old with a 2.05 ERA insists he isn't doing anything differently than he did in 2008.

"I'm pitching the same way I did last year," he said. "If anything it's just a matter of having the confidence and ... having a purpose for each pitch."

Billingsley pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning and Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake each drove in a run, leading Los Angeles to a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

Billingsley has won his first four starts of the season, the first Dodgers pitcher to do so since Kazuhisa Ishii won his first six in 2002.

Houston's Geoff Blum had seen Billingsley a few times before, but never like this.

"It was electric," he said. "It was crazy. I had actually gotten some good hitting counts and he was still throwing 90 mph, what looked like a slider. His depth is impressive. He had us off-balance."

He was helped by double plays that ended the second, fifth and sixth innings. Billingsley halted Houston's recent torrid hitting streak where the team had 11 hits in each of the previous three games. The win broke a two-game skid for the Dodgers.

"It's huge after losing the first two games and (Wednesday) they snatched that one away from us," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Houston's 6-5 win. "The only way we were going to turn it around was to have this kind of game pitched."

Ramirez had an RBI single in the first inning and Blake added the game's other run on a double in the seventh.

Billingsley retired Ivan Rodriguez to start the eighth inning before he was chased on a single by Michael Bourn. That hit bounced off the glove of Blake.

"He didn't make a lot of mistakes and when a pitcher doesn't make a lot of mistakes you don't get a lot of hits," Bourn said. "Simple as that."

In 7 1-3 innings, Billingsley struck out five and walked two in his 100th major league appearance. He was replaced by Jonathan Broxton, who got the last five outs for his fifth save.

Torre said Billingsley could have stayed in, but he needed to get Broxton in because he hadn't pitched since Friday.

Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez (1-2) allowed five hits and one run while striking out four in six innings.

"In the first four innings I didn't feel too comfortable on the mound, but later I felt comfortable and made good pitches," he said. "That's why I threw the last two innings better."

Brewers 6, Phillies 1

At Philadelphia, Dave Bush held the Phillies hitless into the eighth inning before pinch-hitter Matt Stairs homered off the foul pole.

This was the third time Bush (1-0) took a no-hitter into the eighth. He gave up two hits in 7 2-3 innings. Bush walked three, struck out four and hit two batters, including Jimmy Rollins leading off the first.

Ryan Braun and Bill Hall homered for Milwaukee and Prince Fielder hit a three-run double.

Cole Hamels (0-2) struck out six in the first three innings. One pitch after giving up Braun's two-run homer in the fourth, Hamels was struck on the front of his left shoulder by Prince Fielder's liner that went for an infield single.

Hamels said he was OK and did not expect to miss a start.

Cardinals 12, Mets 8

At St. Louis, Albert Pujols homered twice and Kyle Lohse hung on for another win as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep.

Rick Ankiel homered and doubled twice and Skip Schumaker hit a pair of RBI doubles for the Cardinals.

Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church homered for the Mets.

Lohse (3-0) jammed his right knee trying to make a play in the fifth and left after the inning ended. Livan Hernandez (1-1) gave up all three homers and allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings.

Reds 7, Cubs 1

At Chicago, Aaron Harang allowed only one unearned run over seven innings and Joey Votto homered, doubled twice and singled to lead Cincinnati.

Harang (2-2) scattered seven hits in outpitching Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano (1-1), who hasn't won at Wrigley Field since last Aug. 21. Harang walked one and struck out two, including his 1,000th career strikeout.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 24, 2009

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