Ethier's slam propels Billingsley, LA to victory

Ethier's slam propels Billingsley, LA to victory

Ethier's slam propels Billingsley, LA to victory
SEATTLE -- So, that's why Matt Kemp wants Andre Ethier on his National League squad for the State Farm Home Run Derby.

A slumping Ethier slugged his fourth career grand slam with two outs on a 3-2 pitch Sunday to cap a six-run second inning that capped an 8-2 Dodgers Interleague win over the Mariners that capped a 7-3 trip for the winningest team in baseball.

Ethier, who came into the game 4-for-33, snapped a 17-game home run drought with the blast off Blake Beavan, providing a comfortable cushion for Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley, who followed his win over Cliff Lee and the Phillies with a two-hitter for seven innings.

  • 142 wins
  • 110 wins

After getting swept in four games by Milwaukee at home, the Dodgers set out on this 10-game, three-city trip that started with a 13-3 collapse in Colorado.

"This could have been a dangerous trip for us," said manager Don Mattingly, whose club is again five games in front in the NL West and 17 above .500 at 39-22.

"We were in a little bit of a spiral when it started, coming off four losses at home. In Colorado, you usually burn up your bullpen. On to Philly, a championship club and it's tough to play there. And you come here, Interleague, you never know."

Despite losing two of three against the Rockies, the Dodgers somehow swept four in Philadelphia and won a series against the Mariners even while being no-hit.

Billingsley (4-4), who went nine starts without a win, now has two straight victories after striking out eight Mariners.

"His trouble in the past, when he gets a lead, he sometimes gives it back," Mattingly said. "I felt like he was on attack today."

The only run Billingsley allowed came on Kyle Seager's first-inning home run and the last hit he allowed was Justin Smoak's single leading off the second inning. He walked three.

"The key is getting my off-speed pitches over for strikes," Billingsley said. "I feel the same as I did four or five starts ago, but I'm throwing those curves and sliders and changeups over for strikes. When I'm not able to, it makes it harder to pitch."

Billingsley got off to a similar start in his previous game in Philadelphia by allowing a first-inning run, this one coming on the two-out homer by Seager, brother of new Dodgers first-round Draft pick Corey Seager.

"He's got the whole arsenal," Seager said of Billingsley. "He's got pretty much all the pitches and definitely mixes it up on you well. He throws them all for strikes. He's a good pitcher."

With the big lead, Billingsley allowed only one more runner in scoring position.

"He was really aggressive, attacking the zone," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "Having good command of the off-speed pitches, against a lot of lefties like they have it's a big pitch for him."

The Dodgers turned the game around in the second. Bobby Abreu doubled, tagged to third on James Loney's lineout to center, Adam Kennedy walked and Abreu scored on a two-out single by Tony Gwynn. Dee Gordon blooped a single to shallow left to score Kennedy from second.

Seager cut off Mike Carp's throw and dived to tag out Gwynn at third, but dropped the ball as Gwynn was safe and Gordon took second. Elian Herrera walked and Ethier followed with his 10th homer, turning a 2-1 lead into a 6-1 margin. He leads the NL with 52 RBIs.

"At that point, early in the game, that at-bat was just a game-changer right there," Mattingly said of the slam. "It took the pressure off 'Bills' and he could go out there and put up zeros."

The slump Ethier brought into the game pretty much coincided with Kemp being placed on the disabled list for a second time with a strained hamstring. In other words, clubs are pitching around him, which wasn't easy to do when he came to the plate with the bases loaded.

"Their plan backfired," Ethier said of the opposition strategy, which contributed to Saturday's five RBIs from Jerry Hairston, batting behind Ethier in the order.

"They didn't want to be aggressive with me, so they are aggressive with the other guys and it's good to have guys here that step up. Hairston and I were laughing, I don't have any hits and they're still pitching to him and he's banging balls off the wall. It's good to see that backfire when you get pitched around and guys pick you up."

The Dodgers added to their lead in the eighth. Loney's RBI single cashed in Abreu's second double of the game. Ellis blooped a single and Kennedy singled home Loney.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.