Chad Billingsley was wonderful for five innings tonight, just as he was Tuesday in St. Louis. However, his night was cut short again, although this time as a precaution as Billingsley felt uncomfortable after a pitch in the bottom of the fifth. He did stay in the game, long enough to strike out Greg Norton to end the inning, but the ESPN replays seemed to show a potential hyper-extension of his left knee. However, Charley Steiner on the radio broadcast later reported that Billingsley's malady was just a cramp, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
While he was in there, Billingsley allowed only a pair of doubles and a walk, while striking out nine Braves. Matt Kemp provided all the support the Dodgers would need, with a towering three-run home run to dead center in the fifth inning. Kemp had five RBI, and was one of three Dodgers with three hits (with Andre Ethier and James Loney).
The Dodger offense finally broke out, on the final game of the road trip, pounding out 19 hits on their way to nine runs. Mark Loretta, in a three for 32 slump coming in, and starting at third base in place of the injured , collected two hits himself, including an RBI single in the fourth inning. Every Dodger offensive starter got on base at least twice tonight.
Even Jason Schmidt joined the offensive attack, getting a single in the sixth inning after being sent up as a pinch hitter; the byproduct of an injury with an already short bench. Schmidt ended up scoring, too. Tonight was the first hit and run for Schmidt since he homered in the home opener in 2007.
Manny Ramirez did have a single and a walk tonight, but he is in the midst of a slump in which he has no RBI in his last 43 plate appearances, since the Bobbleslam.
After Billingsley's precautionary early exit, Scott Elbert played the role of long man tonight, pitching two perfect innings before giving up a run in the eighth, his third inning of work.
WP - Chad Billingsley (11-6): 5 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP - Jair Jurrjens (9-8): 5 IP, 10 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts