Ethier extends streak, but Dodgers fall
Geovany Soto hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the ninth inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers 4-1 on Tuesday night after Los Angeles’ Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 29 games.
After getting an out, Jonathan Broxton (1-2) walked Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena on four pitches each.
Manager Don Mattingly replaced his struggling closer with Blake Hawksworth, who got an out then gave up Soto’s two-out hit to right-center on a 1-2 pitch. Former Dodger Blake DeWitt followed with a pinch-hit RBI single.
Kerry Wood (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth for his first victory with the Cubs since Sept. 18, 2008, and Carlos Marmol got three outs for his eighth save in 10 attempts.
Pitching on his birthday for the first time in his 14-year big league career, Chicago’s Ryan Dempster allowed a run and four hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and two walks.
The 34-year-old right-hander gave up seven earned runs, four hits and four walks last Thursday at Arizona in the shortest of his 267 career starts, lasting just one-third of an inning.
Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley allowed a run and four hits over six innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. The only run he allowed was a seventh-inning homer by Pena, his first in a Cubs uniform.
Dempster matched zeros with Chad Billingsley until the sixth. Jamey Carroll led off with a single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by rookie Jerry Sands and scored on Matt Kemp’s line-drive single to center on an 0-1 pitch with two outs.
But Pena tied it with a one-out homer into the Cubs’ bullpen in right field on the first pitch. It ended a 3-for-37 rut for the 12-year veteran, who is batting only .164 with seven RBIs in 26 games after signing a one-year, $10 million contract in December as a free agent.
Dempster walked his first two batters of the game on four pitches each before getting ahead 0-2 on Ethier, who worked the count full and grounded into a double play. Matt Kemp followed with a soft liner to first base.
In the fourth, Ethier kept the hitting streak going when he lined Dempster’s 1-2 pitch just beyond the leaping attempt of rookie second baseman Darwin Barney and into right field with one out for the Dodgers’ first hit.
One pitch earlier, Ethier took a big cut and his bat went flying into the first row of seats behind the first base dugout, bouncing three rows back. Instead of asking the fan who grabbed the bat to return it, Ethier got a new C-271 black ash Louisville Slugger.
Ethier’s streak is the longest by a Dodgers player since Willie Davis’ franchise-record 31-game stretch in 1969. A hit in his next game would make Ethier the 44th major leaguer in the modern era (since 1900) with a streak of at least 30.
The All-Star right fielder has gone hitless in only one of the team’s first 31 games. That was on April 1 at Dodger Stadium, when he struck out and flied out twice against San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez and grounded out against Dan Runzler.
NOTES: The Dodgers placed reserve LF Marcus Thames on the 15-day disabled list because of a strain in his right quad. OF Jay Gibbons, who missed the first 39 games of the season because of vision problems, was reinstated from the DL. … Barney was named NL rookie of the month after hitting .326 with 14 RBIs in April.