Manager Joe Torre simply plugged in a bunch of backups and a lot of hits followed.
Jackson: Billingsley Chills Out
Chad Billingsley didn't get uptight when things got tight and that helped him win for the Dodgers, writes Tony Jackson. Story
Ronnie Belliard homered among three extra base hits and drove in four runs, and the Dodgers won 10-2 on Thursday to avoid being swept in a three-game series by the Pirates for the first time in 10 years.The Dodgers didn't start five regulars, including middle-of-the-lineup hitters Ethier (sore left ankle) and Ramirez (day off), but still got 16 hits off four 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."They're an aggressive-hitting team," Pirates manager John Russell said. "You throw the ball over the middle of the plate, they're going to make you pay."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.
More From ESPNLosAngeles.com
For more news, notes and analysis of the Dodgers, check out ESPN LA's Dodgers Report. Blog
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.Belliard doubled in the ninth, finishing 3 for 5 and a single short of the cycle."I'm not going to play every day, I'm going to come from the bench and sometimes when they need to give the guys off they're going to put me out there," said Belliard, who replaced Orlando Hudson at second base late last season. "I'm going to keep working and keep myself strong to help the ballclub."Maholm second-guessed himself for throwing a hittable pitch to Belliard on an 0-1 count, especially with two out and Anderson on deck."It was a sinker that didn't do a whole lot, except go about 405 feet," Maholm said. "In my head, I had a left-handed batter coming up. I agreed to it and I threw it, but in my mind I wanted to throw something different."Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley (1-0) gave up a run while throwing 107 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, yielding 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."Last year was last year, this is a new season, a new start," Billingsley said. "We'll have to take it one start at a time and one win at a time."With the Dodgers having no established No. 1 starter, they would welcome Billingsley or left-hander Clayton Kershaw pitching himself into that role."We needed a win," Billingsley said. "You always want to be that guy who is the one who can stop it (a losing streak)."The Pirates, who had had won four in a row and five of six against Los Angeles since late September, wasted a chance to get back into the game when Maholm struck out with the bases loaded and his team down 2-0 in the fourth. Normally a position player would have batted, but Russell is hitting his pitcher eighth.The Dodgers got a scare when center fielder Kemp and left fielder Johnson bumped into each other as Kemp charged into left-center to catch Bobby Crosby's fly ball to end the sixth, but both got up quickly."That one scared the hell out of me," manager Joe Torre said. "Matt's used to taking everything, especially with Manny in left field. ... It looked like Reed was calling for it, but the center fielder is the boss. I'm just glad we got through that."
Ethier's status for Friday night's game at Florida is uncertain. He was hurt getting back to first on a pickoff attempt Wednesday. ... All three games were played with temperatures of 72 or above. ... The Pirates unconditionally released INF Ramon Vazquez, who was cut during spring training. He is owed $2 million this season. ... The attendance was 9,352, down from 39,024 on Monday and 31,061 on Wednesday. ... Garrett Jones went 0 for 3 with a pair of walks after homering three times in the first two games.