(Sports Network) - Los Angeles Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley has to be motivated by what staff mate Clayton Kershaw did in last night's series- opening win versus the Chicago Cubs. He'll try to give his team another dominating mound performance Friday in the second portion of this set from Chavez Ravine.
Kershaw held the Cubs to a pair of runs on seven hits and struck out 12 batters through eight innings of a 3-2 victory, LA's seventh in its last 10 games. Closer Jonathan Broxton took over in the ninth and hurled a scoreless inning for his 19th save to preserve Kershaw's ninth win (9-4).
"Clayton had a great start tonight, he's very special," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said after taking the first test of a four-game series. "The most important thing he brings to the table is he can throw more than one pitch for a strike."
Now the pitching table is set for Billingsley, who is 0-2 with a 4.83 earned run average in his last five starts. The right-hander hasn't recorded a decision in consecutive outings and last won on May 26 against tonight's opponent at Wrigley Field. He allowed three runs -- two earned -- and 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings in his team's 8-5 victory that day.
Billingsley pitched well enough for a win his last time out in a 3-1 win at Arizona on Sunday, as he put on his own fireworks show with six innings of one-run ball and eight strikeouts. He remained at 6-4 in 15 starts this season to go along with a 4.06 ERA, and will try to even his home mark tonight. In seven starts at Dodger Stadium, Billingsley is 2-3 with a 5.48 ERA.
The former first-round pick is 2-3 in seven career games (five starts) against the Cubs.
The Dodgers will try to give tonight's starting pitcher some support and were able to hold on yesterday with just three runs. One day after having his 10- game hitting streak come to an end, Rafael Furcal went 3-for-3 with a clutch two-run homer and a pair of runs scored, while James Loney had two hits and drove in the other run for Los Angeles, which is tied with Colorado at three games behind San Diego for the NL West lead.
Furcal has 15 runs batted in and nine multi-hit games in his last 12 contests.
Chicago was coming off a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks until it settled in Hollywood. Even though Cubs starter Randy Wells gave up all three runs, he still pitched well in seven innings of work. He fanned seven batters and issued just one walk to fall to 4-7 on the season.
Wells' chance for a win ended on Furcal's two-run homer in the seventh inning.
"Furcal is a good hitter. I threw a cutter, it backed up," Wells said. "He put a pretty good swing on it. You don't want to get beat with your fourth-best pitch. That stings. I hate losing. That was pretty tough to swallow."
Alfonso Soriano hit his 15th home run of the season and Geovany Soto had the other RBI for the Cubs, losers in five of their last nine games. All-Star Marlon Byrd had three hits in defeat.
Taking the Dodger Stadium mound for Chicago tonight will be Ted Lilly, who is just 3-7 with a 3.76 ERA in 14 starts and 2-2 in his last four decisions. He previously pitched on Independence Day in a 14-3 loss versus Cincinnati and allowed nine runs on 11 hits, four of which were homers, in 6 2/3 innings.
Lilly did not record a decision versus the Dodgers on May 27, but he delivered seven shutout innings and yielded three hits with five K's in his team's 1-0 win. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA in seven career matchups (six starts) with Los Angeles and 1-3 in six road outings in 2010.
Chicago won two of three meetings with the Dodgers back in late May, but Los Angeles is 9-6 in the last 15 encounters between the teams.