The Dodgers have reached some nice heights so far this season, but on Sunday they came up short.
The Dodgers are 6-2 this season in one-run games, and are now 0-1 in games decided by 10 or more runs, after their 12-0 blowout loss to the Astros on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Chad Billingsley had pitched quality starts in each of his first three outings, but his performance was anything but quality on Sunday.
Juan Rivera, starting his fourth game of the season at first base with the left-handed Wandy Rodriguez on the mound, fielded a ground ball behind first base off the bat of Jed Lowrie with one out in the first inning. But Rivera, who seemed unsure whether or not to run to the bag himself, threw awkwardly to a covering BIllingsley but the throw was low, allowing Lowrie to reach on an error.
Two batters later, Carlos Lee crushed a fastball from Billingsley deep into the Crawford Boxes in left field for a two-out, two-run home run. But for Billingsley, his second inning was even worse.
After walking the pitcher Rodriguez, who was trying to sacrifice, Billingsley gave up a grand slam to Jordan Schafer, just off the fingertips of the glove of a leaping Andre Ethier in right field for a 6-0 Astros lead.
The fourth inning finally proved to be Billingsley's undoing, with two more walks, a line drive to center field that Matt Kemp played into a triple, and a bad throw to second base by Billingsley that somehow turned into an error on Dee Gordon. Billingsley couldn't get out of the fourth inning and by the time his day was done he had nine runs charged to his ledger.
- Scott Elbert is alive and well. The left-hander, who hadn't been used since April 13, pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing two hits while striking out two.
- Jamey Wright, who relieved Billingsley in the bottom of the fourth, batted in the fifth inning for his first plate appearance since June 16, 2007. Wright struck out.
- After each played the first 141 defensive innings of the season, both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were removed from the game before the bottom of the sixth inning with the Dodgers trailing 10-0.
The Dodgers return home to open a three-game series Monday night at Dodger Stadium against the Atlanta Braves, who have scored more runs than any other team in the National League. Chris Capuano starts the opener for the Dodgers, facing Jair Jurrjens in the opener.
Home Runs: Carlos Lee (2), Jordan Schafer (2)
WP - Wandy Rodriguez (1-2): 7 IP, 3 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Chad Billingsley (2-1): 3 1/3 IP, 4 hits, 9 runs (5 earned), 4 walks, 2 strikeouts