Before the game, Joe Torre was beaming with praise for Billingsley, who struck out 13 Diamondbacks last Sunday. "His record certainly doesn't indicate the way he's pitched this season," Torre said, "right now, he either wins or loses his own game for me. He just stays out there and pitches. Last outing he threw 120 pitches, and he's just been very, very good."
Billingsley was very, very good again tonight, taking a shutout into the eighth inning. Carroll went to the mound in the seventh with two runners on base and a 3-0 lead. Billingsley greeted the acting manager with a smile on his face as he said, "Hey skip," and then proceeded to talk his manager into staying in the game. "I tried to read his face more than read his words. In my eyes he looked pretty good, so we gave it a shot," Carroll said. Stephen Drew followed with an RBI single just out of the reach of James Loney, and Carroll made a second visit, this time with a hook.
Ramon Troncoso allowed one of Billingsley's inherited runners to score, but Billingsley overall was solid. He struck out nine in his 7 1/3 innings of work, lowering his ERA to 3.57 on the season. After the All-Star break, Billingsley was 5-7 with a 3.00 ERA, 30 unintentional walks and 82 strikeouts in 96 innings.
"His future is very bright. Keep your fingers crossed that he stays healthy, because that's the only thing can derail him at this point," Torre said of Billingsley.
Matt Kemp provided the power, knocking in Ethier with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the fourth straight game Kemp has hit a home run, tying a career high. He also hit home runs in four straight games April 13-16 this season, as well as Aug. 29 - Sept. 1 last season.
Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save of the season, striking out three batters in the process. Jansen has made 16 appearances this season of exactly one inning, and he has struck out at least two batters in 10 of those 16 appearances.
Joe Saunders took the loss, his major-league-leading 17th defeat of the season.
WP - Chad Billingsley (12-11): 7 1/3 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP - Joe Saunders (9-17): 7 IP, 10 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (4): 1 IP, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts