Chad Billingsley was finally handed his first loss of the regular season tonight, and at the hands of Barry Zito no less. Chad was a bit wild but still went seven innings and gave up three runs on eight hits, four walks, and five strikeouts. However, Barry Zito gave up only one run in six innings and got his first win of the year. Zito has been a completely different pitcher lately. Over his last four starts (26.1 innings) he's allowed only four runs, four walks, and one home run while getting sixteen strikeouts.
After five scoreless innings, the Giants managed to score on an Aaron Rowand sacrifice fly to right. In the bottom half of the inning Dodgers answered back on a Casey Blake two-out RBI double to score Matt Kemp. Blake hit a two-strike changeup into left center field and it went off the glove of a diving Fred Lewis. The Dodgers could have had more runs but Russell Martin was thrown out trying to get to second on a single after Matt Kemp went from first to third.
In the seventh inning the Giants loaded the bases and managed to get two runs off a Edgar Renteria sacrifice fly and a Pablo Sandoval infield single with two outs. The 3-1 lead was enough to win the game after the Dodgers shot themselves in the foot on numerous rallies.
The aforementioned Russell Martin baserunning error helped limit the Dodgers to one run in the sixth, but this was not the only mistake that hurt the Dodgers offense. After a Rafael Furcal leadoff double in the first, both Orlando Hudson and Andre Ethier struck out and failed to bring him home. Juan Pierre was thrown out trying to steal third in the third inning with two men on and Andre Ethier at the plate. Ethier also popped out meekly with the bases loaded in the fifth. Furcal grounded into a double play in both the 7th and 9th innings after Juan Pierre managed to reach base (his first double plays all year). These mistakes meant the Dodgers only scored one run despite having fifteen men reach base.
The Dodgers (21-10) have now dropped two in a row at home and their lead over the Giants has been trimmed to 4.5 games. They have two tough games coming up in this series, and tommorow Eric Stults faces off against Jonathan Sanchez at 12:40 PM. There's still no reason to panic, but a win tomorrow would be big because on Sunday we'll be facing Tim Lincecum.