Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland were locked in a pitchers' duel, taking a scoreless tie into the sixth inning. Garland didn't allow a hit until Russell Martin led off the fifth inning with a single. Billingsley was battling his control all night, as he walked four, but ended with nine strikeouts in six scoreless innings. The Diamondbacks were able to get at least two runners on base in three separate innings against Billingsley, but they were only one for eight with runners in scoring position. Joe Torre applauded the effort of his ace:
Our guy, Billingsley, was fighting it all night, but we were able to just hang with them. That's what Billingsley allowed us to do, and our defense held the one run lead.
The Dodgers pushed across their run in the sixth inning when James Loney led off with a triple. Loney was able to leg three bases out on the play thanks in part to leftfielder Gerardo Parra, who dove after the ball unsuccessfully, allowing it to get past him. A Casey Blake sacrifice fly allowed Loney to score, just ahead of the superb throw from Parra. Loney's hit made him the tripling king among Dodgers since he entered the league in 2006:
|Most Dodger Triples, 2006-2009|
After Billingsley's 111-pitch effort, the Dodgers turned the game over to Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, and Jonathan Broxton, and each reliever pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the win. A back end of the bullpen featuring Belisario, Troncoso, and Broxton is about a good as it gets in baseball.
Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to eight games with a seventh-inning single, and over his last 15 games Kemp is hitting .400/.450/.527.
Billingsley is now tied for the National League lead with seven wins.
Tonight was the Dodgers' fourth shutout win of the season, and third at Dodger Stadium.
The only thing that could have made tonight better was to enjoy it with a Chili Cheese Dodger Dog.
Since Randy Johnson's attempt at his 300th win was postponed due to rain in Washington , the Dodgers now enjoy their largest division lead of the season, a cool 9½ games ahead of the Giants.
The Phillies come to town for a four-game set starting tomorrow, with a nice pitching matchup of Cole Hamels vs. Clayton Kershaw.
WP - Chad Billingsley (7-3): 6 IP, 4 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
LP - Jon Garland (4-5): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (13): 1 IP, 1 strikeout