Juan Uribe needed just three games to make up for an awful start to his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Uribe hit a two-run homer, Andre Ethier extended his major league-best hitting streak to 19 games and the surging Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 12-2 on Friday.
Pinch-hitter Marcus Thames added a two-run drive in the ninth as Los Angeles set season highs for runs and hits (14). Matt Kemp and Ethier reached base three times apiece, and A.J. Ellis contributed two hits and two RBIs.
Uribe also had a run-scoring single in the Dodgers’ six-run third inning and a sacrifice fly in the sixth, giving him nine RBIs in his last three games and 12 this year. He is batting .435 (10 for 23) in his last six games after opening the year in a .143 rut (7 for 49).
”I feel real good right now,” he said. ”Before, I wasn’t hitting. Now, I’m helping my team.”
Chad Billingsley (2-1) made the most of all that run support, pitching into the seventh inning in his second straight solid start. He also capped Los Angeles’ biggest inning of the year with an RBI single for his first hit in 2011.
”The guy knows how to pitch, for sure, and, like most veteran guys, knows how to pitch with a lead,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
The Dodgers have won five of six, including three straight since Major League Baseball seized control of the team. Commissioner Bud Selig told owner Frank McCourt on Wednesday he will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the club.
”We’re concentrating on what we have to do,” Billingsley said. ”What it takes for each game to get ready. That’s the only thing we can control.”
Darwin Barney hit an RBI single for the Cubs, who have scored four runs or fewer in each of their last four games. Kosuke Fukudome, batting leadoff for the sixth time this season, had three singles and walked.
Los Angeles grabbed control in the third and chased Casey Coleman (1-1). Ethier had an RBI single, Ellis drove in two with a base hit to center and Jerry Sands’ bases-loaded walk forced in another run.
Ethier went 1 for 2, walked twice and scored. The All-Star right fielder is batting .417 (30 for 72) with two homers and 10 RBIs during his career-best hitting streak.
”Uribe is a big key there backing up me and Matty (Kemp),” Ethier said. ”He’s getting going.”
Coleman was booed as he walked off the mound after Billingsley’s two-out hit made it 6-0. The 23-year-old right-hander issued four of Chicago’s 10 walks and yielded six hits in the shortest of his 11 major league starts.
”I didn’t do a good job of slowing down the game, like you should,” Coleman said. ”I had it in my mind I was going to make that one pitch to get out of the inning. . . . I was so ready to get it and get out of that inning that I got myself in too much of a hurry.”
Billingsley gave up two runs — one earned — and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, improving to 3-0 in his last three starts against the Cubs. He was coming off a masterful outing against St. Louis when he struck out 11 over eight shutout innings in a 2-1 victory.
”I was able to locate the ball down in the zone and get some groundballs today,” he said.
Before the game, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he is operating under the same budgetary guidelines he had before Selig’s announcement and he reports to owner Frank McCourt until an administrator is appointed.
The Dodgers have been consumed by infighting since Jamie McCourt filed for divorce after 30 years of marriage in October 2009, one week after her husband fired her as the team’s chief executive.
All the turmoil off the field doesn’t seem to be affecting the team.
Notes: The start of the game was delayed for 1 hour, 14 minutes due to rain. … Thames has two pinch-hit homers this season and seven in his career. … The Dodgers activated RHP Vicente Padilla from the 15-day DL. Padilla had surgery on his right arm in February to free up a nerve that was trapped by a muscle. He takes the roster spot of RHP Ramon Troncoso, optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday, and will work out of the bullpen. … Cubs RHP Andrew Cashner played catch for the first time since he was sidelined by a strain in the back of his right rotator cuff. He estimated he made about 30 or 40 throws, including some from 60 feet. ”Everything was good,” he said. Cashner is expected play catch again Saturday.