Ethier extends hitting streak in Dodgers loss
CHICAGO – Andre Ethier's hitting streak is alive. The Los Angeles Dodgers' winning streak is over.
Ethier hit a tiebreaking two-run double with two outs in the sixth inning but the Chicago Cubs scored five times in the eighth inning to rally for a 10-8 victory Saturday.
Casey Blake, Matt Kemp and Rod Barajas homered for Los Angeles, which had won three straight and five of six. Blake hit a two-run shot in the Dodgers' three-run fifth and went 2 for 3 with two walks to run his career average against the Cubs to .333 (17 for 51).
"If that wind is blowing out, you're never really safe. They found it out early, we found it out late," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "You're just not safe here. One bloop hit, somebody pops one and you're back in the game."
Ethier came up with runners on the corners and lined a 1-2 pitch into the right-field corner, extending his major league-best hitting streak to 20 games. Barajas added a run-scoring grounder in the seventh to give the Dodgers an 8-5 lead, but it wasn't enough for a wild game at Wrigley Field.
Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd combined for nine hits, six RBIs and four runs as Chicago roughed up Ted Lilly in his first game against his former team. Castro tied a career high with four hits and Reed Johnson went 2 for 3 and scored twice.
"We never lost confidence that we could come back," Castro said through a translator. "The way we play right now, everybody was aggressive and everybody had confidence. We knew we could come back."
Ethier clapped his hands and pointed to the Los Angeles dugout after continuing his career-best streak. The All-Star right fielder went 1 for 4 and is batting .408 (31 for 76) in the longest run for a Dodgers player since Nomar Garciaparra had a 22-game hitting streak in 2006.
"He's been good, there's no doubt about it," Mattingly said. "He got a huge hit today. More than anything, Andre, like everyone else, is focused every day, every at-bat. He hasn't been giving any away, he's been battling through every one of them."
The Dodgers scored seven unanswered runs before Chicago responded in the eighth. The first three batters reached against Matt Guerrier (1-1), who hadn't allowed a run this season. Castro then lined a two-run single into center field and Barney tied it with a fielder's choice bouncer to shortstop Jamey Carroll.
"I ended up making a good pitch to Byrd with two strikes, but that was after most of the damage was done," Guerrier said. "Slider up to Castro ... just wasn't making the pitches."
Guerrier bounced back to strike out Byrd but left after Aramis Ramirez singled to put runners on first and third. Jeff Baker then greeted Blake Hawksworth with a drive into the gap in right-center, delighting the crowd of 41,161.
"What a ballgame," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "Those kids are something."
Jeff Samardzija (2-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win. Carlos Marmol worked around a one-out walk to Jerry Sands to earn his fifth save in seven opportunities.
Lilly and Ryan Dempster locked up in a matchup of close friends but both pitchers struggled. Dempster allowed seven runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings in his fifth consecutive shoddy start to open the season, while Lilly yielded five runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings in his first career game against the Cubs.
"It's especially disappointing, given that our offense pulled back from a deficit and took the lead," said Lilly, who pitched for Chicago from 2007 until he was traded to L.A. last July.
The victory continued a bizarre streak for the Cubs (10-10), who became the first major league team to hit the .500 mark 10 times through the first 20 games of the season.
NOTES: Dodgers INF Juan Uribe rested with a minor leg injury and is day to day. ... Quade said he's leaning toward starting LHP James Russell on Tuesday against Colorado. ... Dodgers C Hector Gimenez will have arthroscopic right knee surgery Tuesday in Arizona. ... Mattingly said he thinks LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (left lower back strain) is going to make a couple rehab appearances with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga next week. ... The Cubs recalled RHP Justin Berg from Triple-A Iowa and optioned RHP Jeff Stevens to their top farm club. Stevens pitched 3 1-3 innings in Friday's 12-2 loss to L.A., drawing praise from Quade for helping save the tired bullpen for the rest of the series.