Posted August 14, 2012 on AP on Fox
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Chad Billingsley pitched eight dominant innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers matched their highest-scoring game of the season, routing the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-0 Tuesday night. The Dodgers have won five of six, pushing them to the top of the NL West. Pittsburgh has lost five of six. Luis Cruz tied career highs for hits and RBIs with three each. Hanley Ramirez added three hits, two RBIs and two runs as Los Angeles beat the Pirates for the eighth straight time dating to last season. Billingsley (9-9) won his fifth consecutive start, allowing five hits and one walk. He improved to 7-1 in his career against the Pirates. Kevin Correia (9-7) had won seven straight decisions, tied for the longest active streak in the majors. Billingsley waited out a 55-minute relay at the beginning, then struck five and improved to 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts since a July stint on the disabled list due to elbow inflammation. He had lost all five of his previous outings before going on the DL. Shawn Tolleson worked a perfect ninth to preserve the Dodgers' seventh shutout of the season. The Pirates have been blanked 10 times. Auditioning for a permanent spot in the starting rotation during the stretch drive, Correia gave up five earned runs and seven hits in six innings. Only four hits off Correia left the infield. Shane Victorino had an RBI grounder in the third, and The Dodgers loaded the bases without hitting a ball to the outfield to begin a three-run fourth. Infield singles by Matt Kemp and Ramirez sandwiched Andre Ethier reaching on an error by Pirates second baseman Neil Walker put Los Angeles in position. Kemp scored on James Loney's groundout, and Ethier and Ramirez were driven in by a line-drive single by Cruz - the only ball of the inning to leave the infield. The Dodgers added two runs in the sixth when Ramirez, Loney and Cruz hit consecutive singles and A.J. Ellis followed with a sacrifice fly. Before the game, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said that he would go with a five-man rotation after the team's next off day Aug. 23. Correia was removed from the rotation after the team acquired Wandy Rodriguez July 24 despite the fact Correia won his fifth consecutive start the following day. Correia made only one relief appearance, however, before he was returned to starting Aug. 8. He will get one more start before Hurdle said the Pirates would send one of their six starters to the bullpen. Correia had won each of his past six starts. The Dodgers turned it into a rout in the ninth, adding five runs off Chad Qualls. Either had a two-run single and Ramirez a two-run double. NOTES: The only previous occasion Cruz had three hits in a game was also at PNC Park: Sept. 12, 2008, while playing for Pittsburgh. He also had three RBIs in a game once previously. ... Pittsburgh entered its season-long 11-game homestand with the best home record in baseball but is 3-6 on it so far. ... The Dodgers are 11-1 in the Eastern time zone this season. ... Los Angeles is 44-3 when scoring at least five runs. ... Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw allowed one run over seven innings in a start against the Pirates earlier this season. Rodriguez pitched seven shutout innings in his only appearance against Los Angeles this season. Kershaw and Rodriguez will start for their respective teams in the third game of the series Wednesday.
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