Dodgers set club record for home start
LA ties NL mark at 10-0; Billingsley remains perfect at 5-0
LOS ANGELES -- Joe Torre knows a little bit about guiding a team to a hot start at home to begin a season.Torre managed the 1983 Braves to a 10-0 start at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to tie the modern-day National League record. And now, 26 years later and as the manager of the Dodgers, Torre's club did it again as the Dodgers won their 10th consecutive game at home to open the year to set a franchise record in their 7-3 win over the Padres on Sunday in front of 52,096 at Dodger Stadium. "It feels great," said Orlando Hudson, who drove in three runs with two doubles. "It always feels good to be a part of history. It's a great accomplishment for the team." The 10-0 start at home breaks the 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers' mark of 9-0 to start the season and ties the NL record. Atlanta started 10-0 in 1983 at Fulton County Stadium, the Cubs started 10-0 at Wrigley Field in 1970 and the New York Giants started 10-0 at the Polo Grounds in 1918. The Major League record for consecutive wins at home to open a season is 12 by Detroit at Bennett Park in 1911, the year before Tiger Stadium opened. Right-hander Chad Billingsley aided the Dodgers to their record-setting win by tossing seven innings, allowing just two runs and four hits. Billinglsey, who also struck out eight batters, improved to an NL-best 5-0 this season. "It was a great seven innings for us," Torre said. "We needed that effort because when he pitches, we feel we can win." Billingsley said he didn't put too much stock into the Dodgers setting the record but noted that the team has thrived at Dodger Stadium this year. "We've been playing great here at home," Billingsley said. "When you win at home, that's what you're supposed to do. And that's what we're doing right now." Billinglsey was spotted an early 3-0 lead and allowed a run in the second on an RBI double by Edgar Gonzalez and a home run to Brian Giles in the seventh inning. He got into some trouble in the sixth inning when he loaded the bases with two outs but struck out Nick Hundley on three pitches after a visit by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. "I was just trying to throw a first-pitch strike," Billingsley said. "Then I got him 0-2 and was able to get him swinging on a curveball down. It's easier when you're ahead in that situation." The Dodgers got ahead early with three runs in the first inning against Padres right-hander Chad Gaudin. Juan Pierre led off with a single before Hudson doubled him home. Andre Ethier then doubled home Hudson and scored on a single by James Loney. Gaudin, however, settled down after the first inning and didn't allow another run until the sixth inning when Billingsley helped his own cause with a two-out RBI single into right field. Gaudin was then removed for Arturo Lopez, who allowed a run-scoring single to Pierre and a two-run double to Hudson to give the Dodgers a 7-1 lead. In all, Gaudin allowed six runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. It was an impressive effort by the Dodgers' offense considering the team rested regulars Manny Ramirez, Russell Martin, Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal. But the combination of Pierre, Brad Ausmus, Mark Loretta and Juan Castro combined for five hits and four runs scored. "Those guys have been playing great off the bench," Billingsley said. "They're really getting the job done and it shows how deep we are." Lost in the shuffle of starting the season 10-0 at home was the fact that the Dodgers swept the Padres in four games at Dodger Stadium for the first time in franchise history. "This was a good series all-around," Pierre said. "It was good pitching and we were good offensively." The Dodgers are 9-1 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium dating to last season, much to the dismay of Padres manager Bud Black. "They're a good team, but they're beatable," Black said of the Dodgers. "Their overall lineup is strong. They've got a nice balance, speed and average." The Dodgers still have seven games left on their 11-game homestand so they have a chance to break the Major League record for consecutive home wins if they can sweep the D-backs in a rare two-game series and beat the Nationals on Wednesday. But the Dodgers aren't thinking about breaking that record just yet. "We're going to try and take it one day at a time," Hudson said. "We're not trying to beat the history of all history by going 81-0 at home."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.