07/21/10 2:12 AM ET
Dodgers look to reverse course vs. Giants
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
They are just going in opposite directions.
The Giants' 7-5 victory against the Dodgers on Tuesday was the club's second straight win and 11th win in 13 games. The loss was the sixth in a row for the Dodgers.
The Giants now trail the first-place Padres by three games. The fourth-place Dodgers remain six games back in the race for the top spot.
"Just win, plain and simple. Keep working hard, keep trying to get better," said Chad Billingsley, who will start for the Dodgers on Wednesday. "We had some tough games in St. Louis, and right now every game is must-win. It's the second half."
Billingsley is right, but the second half of the season usually belongs to Giants starter Barry Zito. The left-handed pitcher will take the hill Wednesday fresh off a strong two-hit performance against the Mets.
Zito is historically more dominant in the second half compared to the first, sporting a better record (76-40 to 65-70) and ERA (3.39 to 4.18).
As for Billingsley, he lasted only four innings and gave up 10 hits against the Cardinals. Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said Billingsley's problems in St. Louis were caused by a recurring mechanical flaw that has hounded him since last year.
There will be no room for error Wednesday. Before the series, Billingsley pulled a magnetic schedule out of his locker and counted how many series remain with NL West opponents.
"Fourteen," he said. "You have to win in division."
Giants: Posey heating up
Buster Posey went 2-for-5 with one run scored and one RBI on Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active hitting streak in the NL. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy rested Aubrey Huff, who earned an intentional walk as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, on Tuesday but will put him back in the lineup Wednesday. "We're trying to keep him fresh," Bochy said.
Dodgers around the horn
Closer Jonathan Broxton has the second-best fastball in the Major Leagues, according to a Sports Illustrated poll of 339 Major Leaguers. Detroit's Justin Verlander ranked first with 30 percent of the vote while Broxton tallied 11 percent. ... The club will likely demote catcher A.J. Ellis on Wednesday or Thursday to bring up an outfielder until Reed Johnson, who is out with a lumbar strain, can return. ... Rafael Furcal has hits in 19 of his last 21 games. His double in the ninth inning Tuesday was his 19th of the season.
The Dodgers have come back to win their division after being at least six games out this late in the season twice in franchise history. The 1956 pennant winners were six games out after play on July 26 and the 1983 NL West division champs were 6 1/2 games back on Aug. 14, after 114 games. ... The Giants are in the middle of a stretch that has them on the road for 18 of 22 games. The club's record is 11-6 during that span. ... San Francisco is 5-15 against the NL West on the road this season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.