Rockies call up Franklin Morales

LOS ANGELES (AP) - With the Los Angeles Dodgers starting to come out of their hitting slump, Chad Billingsley looks to end a personal four-game losing streak.

Billingsly takes the mound for the Dodgers in the middle game of their series with the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

Los Angeles (63-59) has won three straight, scoring six runs in each of those games after averaging just 1.8 in its previous nine contests. The Dodgers collected 10 hits - the third time in four games they've reached double digits - and went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position en route to a 6-4 win over Colorado (62-59) in the series opener Friday.

Billingsley (7-4, 3.54 ERA) is mired in the worst losing streak of his career partly due to Los Angeles' problems at the plate during the first half of this month. The right-hander has a 4.09 ERA during his skid - and gave up just one run in two of those starts - but got a total of two runs of support.

In his last start, the right-hander gave up four runs and six hits while striking out seven in five innings of a 4-1 loss to Houston on Monday. The Dodgers went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in that game.

Billingsley, though, has been terrible against the Rockies, going 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in four starts against them.

Jeff Kent is among the Dodgers hitters that have started to hit better. He homered Friday, tying Joe DiMaggio for 65th place on the career home run list with 361. Kent, who has 16 homers this season and the most career homers of any second baseman, is batting .357 (5-for-14) with four doubles and four RBIs in his last four games.

Kent, Los Angeles' cleanup man, had been hitting behind Matt Kemp before he bruised his right knee Wednesday night against Houston.

Kemp was rested Friday, with Andre Ethier taking his spot in right field. Kemp is 5-for-11 (.454) with a home run and three RBIs in his last three games.

"We'll give him a day or so," Dodgers manager Grady Little told the team's official Web site. "He'll be back (Saturday) or Sunday. He said it doesn't bother him, but it sure is ugly."

Los Angeles' lineup will be facing Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales, who will be called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday to make his major league debut.

The 21-year-old from Venezuela signed with the Rockies as a non-drafted free agent in November 2002 when he was 16 years old. He was a non-roster invitee to spring training after leading the California League in strikeouts and ERA last season.

Morales went 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts for the Sky Sox after being promoted from Double-A Tulsa, where he went 3-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 17 starts.

"He's played all year long in a starting rotation," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "This is the optimal time to give him experience that can't be garnered anywhere else."

Morales will try to spark a pitching staff that has allowed six runs or more in three of its last four games. Colorado has lost three of four after winning 10 of its previous 15.

(Copyright Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.)


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