Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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Belliard's HR sends Dodgers past Pirates 10-2

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[April 20, 2010]  PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Ronnie Belliard homered among three extra base hits and drove in four runs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided being swept in a three-game series by the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first time in 10 years with a 10-2 victory Thursday.

The DHardwareodgers played without middle-of-the-lineup hitters Andre Ethier (left ankle) and Manny Ramirez (day off), but still got 16 hits off four Pirates pitchers, including 10 from their No. 1-4 hitters. Reed Johnson doubled among three hits and scored twice, and Matt Kemp, James Loney and Garret Anderson drove in two runs each.

Belliard, making a spot start after losing the second baseman's job to Blake DeWitt, hit a two-run homer off Paul Maholm (0-1) in the fifth to make it 4-0. Belliard added a run-scoring triple during a breakout four-run seventh against reliever Hayden Penn, huffing and puffing into third as the ball was mishandled in the outfield.

Belliard doubled in the ninth, finishing 3 for 5 and a single short of the cycle.


Chad Billingsley (1-0), trying to follow up on his strong start to last season, limited the Pirates to a run over 5 1-3 innings before being lifted after throwing 107 pitches. The right-hander gave up five hits, striking out seven and walking four.

Billingsley was 4-0 during five April starts last season and was 9-3 with a 2.72 ERA after 14 starts, making the NL All-Star team. He faded during the second half, losing eight of his final 11 while having a 4.03 ERA.

With the Dodgers having no established No. 1 starter, they would welcome Billingsley or left-hander Clayton Kershaw pitching himself into that role. Kershaw didn't figure in the decision as the Pirates won 4-3 in 10 innings Wednesday, giving up three runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings.

The Dodgers hadn't been swept in a three-game series by Pittsburgh since Sept. 4-6, 2000, in Los Angeles. The last such sweep in Pittsburgh was May 31-June 2, 1999, when the Pirates played in Three Rivers Stadium.

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The Pirates, winners of their previous four and five of six against Los Angeles since late September, didn't score until the sixth, when Delwyn Young doubled off Billingsley and Jeff Clement hit a sacrifice fly off Jeff Weaver.

Garrett Jones went 0 for 3 with a pair of walks after homering three times in the first two games, including a three-run drive on Wednesday.

NOTES: Ethier's sore ankle developed after he got back to first base on a pickoff throw Wednesday. His status for Friday night's game at Florida is uncertain. ... Dodgers 3B Casey Blake and C Russell Martin also didn't start. ... All three games in the series were played with readings in at least the 70s -- unseasonable for Pittsburgh so early in the season. ... The Pirates unconditionally released INF Ramon Vazquez, who was cut during spring training last week. He is owed $2 million this season. ... The attendance was 9,352, significantly down from 39,024 on Monday and 31,061 on Wednesday. ... 3B Belliard and Pirates SS Bobby Crosby each committed errors in successive innings.

[Associated Press; By ALAN ROBINSON]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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