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Billingsley, Barajas Power Dodgers over Giants

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Chad Billingsley wanted it his way, and he did it in the Dodgers’ 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

“Billingsley was great,” manager Joe Torre said. “Especially that one inning where we made the error and the other ball off of Ronnie [Belliard’s] glove. He wouldn’t give in. He’s about as smooth as he’s been all year.”

That one inning Torre referred to was the fourth inning. With James Loney batting .077 (2-for-26, seven strikeouts) lifetime against Giants’ starter Barry Zito, Torre opted instead to start Ronnie Belliard at first base. It would come to haunt the Dodgers.

Leading 2-0 with Billingsley working on a no-hitter, Rafael Furcal booted a grounder hit by Freddy Sanchez. Aubrey Huff then hit a grounder that could have been fielded by second baseman Ryan Theriot. Instead, with Sanchez running to second base behind him, Belliard opted to field the ball bouncing it off into the direction of centerfield with his glove ending the no-hitter. That set the stage for Buster Posey to hit a two-RBI single to tie the game 2-2.

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With the two unearned runs charged to him, Billingsley decided to get them back with an assist to Zito’s wildness. As Zito loaded the bases on three walks, the last an intentional pass to Rod Barajas, Billingsley got the only hit of the inning - a single that scored Matt Kemp and Casey Blake that restored the Dodgers’ two-run lead.

“Yeah, I expect that out of myself,” Billingsley joked. “I was just trying to put the ball in play and not do too much.”

That knocked Zito out as he has remained winless since July 16 against the New York Mets at home going four innings in his longest outing in his last four games.

Billingsley ended up going eight innings giving up only two hits and the two unearned runs on 116 pitches.

“I was being aggressive with my fastball and mixing in my curveball every now and again,” Billingsley said.

The Dodgers got the scoring started in the second inning when Casey Blake led off with a double. A couple of strikeouts later Rod Barajas belted a homer to the left field giving the Dodgers the 2-0 lead.

“Barajas has been pretty special since he’s been here,” Torre said. “Hopefully he’ll be all right tomorrow - he took that ball above the elbow, but I’m sure it’s pretty sore.”

Barajas was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning by reliever Santiago Casilla.

“It’s just sore and stiff movement-wise,” Barajas said. “It’s limited right now, but we’ll get some ice on it. We’ll get some treatment on it and see how it feels tomorrow.”

But even that couldn’t take his smile away.

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“I’m not going to lie. I’ve been smiling since day one. Just being able to come out here and be productive, it’s been great.”

But he was diplomatic about hitting the homer against the Giants saying that he didn’t derive any added pleasure.

“No, I’m not going to say that. Hitting a home run makes you feel good no matter who it is.”

In between innings early in the game, the Dodgers played the following piece of absolute genius: