The NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers will get back to work this afternoon in the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at historic Wrigley Field.
The Dodgers had a day off Thursday and hope to bounce back from an 8-5 loss in Colorado the day before. Rockies veteran Jason Giambi clubbed a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Rockies. Dodgers reliever Jamey Wright walked Eric Young and Marco Scutaro to start the bottom of the ninth and Giambi belted Scott Elbert's offering over the wall in right-center field to give the Rockies two wins in the series.
"He got a good pitch to hit and did what he's supposed to do," said Elbert. "He got me."
Wright was dealt the loss and LA starter Clayton Kershaw did not factor in the decision after he was reached for five runs over 7 1/3 innings. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Dee Gordon both had two RBI for Los Angeles, which had won four of five games.
Chad Billingsley gets the nod for the Dodgers Friday and he is 2-1 with a 2.64 earned run average in five starts. He is 0-1 in three outings since opening the campaign with back-to-back winning starts and last pitched in Saturday's 4-3 win over Washington.
Billingsley did not record a decision against the Nationals and tossed seven innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts and two walks. The righty is 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 10 games (8 starts) against the Cubs.
Chicago is back in the Windy City and will open a six-game homestand tonight versus the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. The Cubs have alternated wins and losses over their previous eight games and split a rain-shortened series with the Cincinnati Reds.
After posting a 3-1 win in the series opener, the Cubs sustained a 4-3 loss in 10 innings on Thursday. Scott Rolen's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning provided the winning run. Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair and Geovany Soto hit solo homers for the Cubs, who have lost three of their last five.
Ryan Dempster made the most of his return from the 15-day disabled list, tossing eight scoreless innings. He scattered three hits and walked one while fanning six, but Carlos Marmol wasted that effort in the ninth. Rafael Dolis was dealt the loss in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
"To have a game like that...I'm embarrassed," Marmol said.
Paul Maholm will toe the rubber for the Cubs today and he is 2-2 with a 6.20 earned run average in four starts. He has won two straight outings after consecutive defeats and threw 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 win at Philadelphia last Friday.
The lefty hasn't tasted victory in eight starts against Los Angeles, going 0-5 with a 5.33 ERA.
Chicago and Los Angeles split six meetings last season.