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Billingsley Completes Dodgers Victory over Giants
After the hijinks that occurred in the first two games, a palette-cleansing pitchers’ duel between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants was what the doctor ordered to release the toxins brewing amongst the Dodger faithful for the last week. It also helped that Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley (W, 7-5) tossed a 125-pitch complete game shutout in the Dodgers 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants breaking the Dodgers six-game losing streak.
“I tried to just stay down in the zone and get ahead of hitters,” Billingsley said in his approach. “You have a better chance of success when you stay down in the zone.”
With Dodgers’ hitting coach Don Mattingly filling in for the suspended manager Joe Torre, Billingsley provided a easy night for Mattingly.
“When you get pitching like that it’s pretty easy,” Mattingly said. “[Bench coach Bob Schaefer] said I’m a better starter than reliever,” Mattingly jokingly referenced last night’s debacle where he inadvertently went to the pitching mound twice in the ninth inning.
All of the offense was supplied by Casey Blake who led off the second inning hitting a slider into the left field box seats. However the Dodgers could have done more damage as they threatened with back-to-back singles by James Loney and Ronnie Belliard before Zito recorded the first out of the inning. But Russell Martin grounded into a double play and Billingsley struck out to end the inning.
“I just happened to catch one on the barrel and something good happened,” Blake said. “Fortunately that was enough for us.”
However Blake wasn’t content with just that one run giving the Dodgers a little more breathing room in the eighth inning. After Rafael Furcal singled and Andre Ethier walked to drive Zito out of the game, Blake hit a two-out fly ball single off of reliever Sergio Romo that center fielder Andres Torres could not reel in to score Furcal.
Despite their ineptness on defense at times this season, the Dodgers actually showed some life backing up Billingsley.
In the top of third inning second baseman Belliard grabbed a dribbler up the middle that glanced off of BIllinglsey and made a glove toss to shortstop Furcal covering second base for the force play to end the inning.
Matt Kemp saved consecutive fly balls hit by Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey in the eighth inning from dropping into singles.
Most importantly the Dodgers for the first time since the All Star Break got a win.
“It was a much need win,” Mattingly said. “It’s pretty much what we needed.”
The last time Billingsley tossed a complete game shutout was on July 30, 2008 at Dodger Stadium when he made 118 pitches allowing five hits while striking out eight and walking none. This was his third complete game of his career, and the first complete game for the Dodgers this season. The Dodgers are the last team to have a pitcher toss a complete game in the Majors.