Dodgers down D-backs, extend lead in NL West

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers' brief funk is over, and
they're headed home with a two-game lead in the NL West.

Wilson Betemit hit a two-run homer and Rafael Furcal tripled in
two more to help the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 on

After being swept in San Diego, the Dodgers regrouped to take
the last two in a three game series in Phoenix. With San Diego's
6-3 loss at Colorado, Los Angeles pulled two games ahead of the
second-place Padres in the division.

"We're fine," Furcal said. "We forget about what happened in
San Diego. Now we're two ahead and it's a pretty good series for

The Diamondbacks, losers of six of seven, fell five games back
and stayed 3½ behind Cincinnati in the wild-card race.

"The longer this goes on," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said,
"the less ground we can afford to lose."

Rookie Chad Billingsley (5-3) beat Arizona for the second time
in as many tries. The 21-year-old right-hander allowed two runs on
nine hits in seven innings to improve to 4-0 in his last six

"I tell you what, that little kid has a live ball," Arizona's
Orlando Hudson said. "He's just like Matt Cain, throws hard, got a
good curveball. He moves it up and it's kind of hard to layoff,
throws it down, keeps it out. He's got a bright future ahead of

Billingsley struck out one and walked one.

"I think early on when this kid joined the ballclub, he was in
a little bit more of a strikeout mode than he is now," Dodgers
manager Grady Little said. "He knows that he's got a good ballclub
behind him, that they'll make the plays."

Billingsley said he's just being himself.

"How I'm pitching now is how I've always pitched in my career.
I'm getting settled in real good and believing in myself and
trusting in myself," he said. "This is really how I throw. I
wasn't trusting myself when I first got up. I was learning and
giving the hitter too much credit."

Takashi Saito came on with runners on first and second with one
out in the ninth. He gave up a two-out, RBI double to Eric Byrnes,
allowing the tying run to come to the plate, before striking out
Orlando Hudson for his 16th save in 18 chances

Byrnes led off the Arizona first with a single, then Hudson's
bunt rolled down the third-base line in fair territory for a base
hit. Chad Tracy's two-out single to right brought Byrnes home.

Livan Hernandez (10-11) blanked the Dodgers through four
innings, but Andre Ethier led off the fifth with a double. Russell
Martin drew a one-out intentional walk. With two outs, Furcal
tripled to deep right-center to bring home both runners. Kenny
Lofton followed with an RBI single to left and it was 3-1.

Luis Gonzalez's 531st career double -- into the right-field
corner -- brought Hudson home from first with two outs in the fifth
to cut the lead to 3-2. Gonzalez moved into a tie with Rogers
Hornsby for 22nd on the career doubles list. Gonzalez leads the
National League in doubles with 46, one shy of his career high.

In the sixth, Ethier singled, then Betemit -- 4-for-30 on the
Dodgers' road trip until then -- hit Hernandez's 3-2 pitch just over
the fence in right for his team-leading 15th home run and Los
Angeles led 5-2. Jeff Kent doubled home J.D. Drew from first off
reliever Brandon Medders with two outs in the seventh to make it

Hernandez gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings,
striking out six and walking three, one intentionally. He is 1-3
since coming to Arizona from Washington.

"There's nothing you can do but try to be ready for the next
one," Hernandez said. "I never put my head down, because if you
put your head down, you're not a professional."

The Diamondbacks had runners at first and third with one out in
the sixth but Chris Snyder grounded into a double play. Arizona
drew leadoff walks in the seventh and eighth only to have them
erased by double plays.

Game notes
Jon Hooker, a close friend and former college teammate of
Arizona RHP Brandon Webb, and his new bride were among those killed
in Sunday's commuter plane crash in Kentucky. Webb, who declined
comment on the death, is scheduled to start Monday night against
San Diego. ... Billingsley has allowed two runs in 14 innings
against the Diamondbacks this season. ... All nine Dodgers starters
had at least one hit.