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Ethier’s Slam Leads Dodgers Past Mariners

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SEATTLE (AP) —S o much for the euphoria of the third no-hitter in Mariners history and doing it against the team with the best record in baseball.

The Los Angeles Dodgers pounded the excitement right out of Seattle’s pitching staff.

Andre Ethier awakened from a recent slump with his fourth career grand slam to cap a six-run second inning against Blake Beavan, and Chad Billingsley pitched the Dodgers past the Mariners 8-2 on Sunday.

After a six-pack of Seattle arms worked together to throw the 10th combined no-hitter in major league history Friday night, the Dodgers rebounded by piling up 25 hits and 16 runs in the final two games of the interleague series.

Ethier’s big blow capped a miserable inning for Beavan in the shortest start of his career. Beavan (3-6) lasted just two innings, giving up five hits and six earned runs. His spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy after two poor starts in a row, but manager Eric Wedge said the club wouldn’t make any “rash decisions.”

“He’s a guy who knows what he needs to do to be successful and he’s proven that will work up here, but he has to get back to doing that,” Wedge said.

The Dodgers’ big inning began with Bobby Abreu’s leadoff double, but Beavan retired James Loney on a flyout and A.J. Ellis on a popout. Beavan’s problems started when he issued a walk to Adam Kennedy on a 3-2 pitch, then left a two-strike pitch over the middle of the plate to Tony Gwynn Jr., who lined an RBI single into center.

Dee Gordon followed with a single to score Kennedy and give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Elian Herrera walked on a 3-1 pitch before Ethier’s grand slam. Ethier had just one hit in his previous 27 at-bats before smacking a 3-2 fastball into the right-field seats.

Ethier’s first grand slam since Aug. 11, 2011, against Colorado increased his National League-leading RBI total to 52.

“He’s a great hitter, very consistent, has a very good swing and is able to do some damage with it,” Wedge said. “He got behind and got back up and was ready to hit a fastball in his zone.”

The six-run inning matched the Dodgers’ largest this season. They also scored six times in one inning against Colorado on May 13.

Beavan pitched five innings in his previous start against the Angels, but was knocked around for 10 hits and six earned runs in that outing. He’s allowed at least five earned runs in each of his past three starts.

“If I don’t walk two guys there or make a pitch and get a call it saves four runs right there,” Beavan said. “I’ve got to do a better job of getting ahead of guys and putting them away.”

Billingsley (4-4) won his second straight decision, giving up two hits and a solo homer to Kyle Seager in seven strong innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked three, the third time in four starts that he’s struck out eight.

Seager’s homer in the first was his eighth of the season and his 24th two-out RBI — he leads the American League in that category. Justin Smoak led off the second with a soft single, but Billingsley retired 18 of the next 21 batters, issuing only a trio of walks.

“I could just go out there and think quick outs and get the team back in there and just continue to throw strikes,” Billingsley said.

Dustin Ackley singled with one out in the eighth off reliever Scott Elbert for Seattle’s first hit since the second inning. Michael Saunders added an RBI double in the ninth.

NOTES: Seattle is still not sure if RHP Kevin Millwood will be able to make his next start. Millwood left Friday night’s combined no-hitter before the start of the seventh inning with a mild groin strain. Wedge said it doesn’t appear serious, but the Mariners will make a more firm decision on Tuesday.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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