Chad Billingsley's Sunday started off with the news that he, along with teammates Jonathan Broxton and Orlando Hudson, was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time in his career. He then went out and showed why, pitching into the ninth inning, allowing only two runs and throwing only 97 pitches in the process. He also hit his first career home run, a shot over the left field wall in the fifth inning off Padres' starter Josh Banks. Billingsley also had a double, making today the second two-hit game of his career.
The Dodgers ended up winning 7-6, but did not take the easy route to the win.
Billingsley, who came into the game second in the NL with 51 walks, did not walk a batter for the the first time since the home opener against San Francisco.
Prior to Billingsley's home run, the Dodgers used the long ball to provide him a 4-0 lead. Andre Ethier hit a solo home run in the second, his second road homer of the season, and Casey Blake hit a three-run shot in the third.
After giving up a home run and a double to start the ninth inning, Billingsley was relieved by fellow All-Star Broxton. This is the point of the story when Broxton was supposed to come in and preserve the win, even in a non-save situation. However, Broxton was not on his game, throwing nearly all fastballs on his way to coughing up the 6-2 lead. The Dodgers were only spared when Eliezer Alfonzo overslid third base to end the inning. Broxton faced seven batters, and only retired five of them.
It looed like curtains for the Dodgers in the 10th, when Ronald Belisario started the inning with a hit-by-pitch and a walk. However, Guillermo Mota and Brent Leach came in to get the final three outs, with an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez mixed in.
After the 12th inning ended, this game brought us three rare events:
1) Thanks to David Eckstein pulling his hamstring running to first base, and the Padres out of bench players, backup catcher Jose Lobaton made his major league debut...at second base.
2) James Loney hit a home run, a shot off Edward Mujica over the RF wall, his sixth of the year, to give the Dodgers a 7-6 lead.
3) With one out and nobody on base, Adrian Gonzalez was intentionally walked. It was only the fourth time all season in MLB that somebody was walked intentionally with nobody on base.
Jeff Weaver was perfect otherwise, pitching three hitless innings to pick up his fifth win.
The Dodgers travel to New York tonight, and have Monday off before beginning a three-game series with the Mets on Tuesday. Clayton Kershaw is slated to battle Mike Pelfrey in the first game of the series.
WP - Jeff Weaver (5-2): 3 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
LP - Edward Mujica (2-4): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run