In three straight games Chad Billingsley has pitched well enough to pitch into the seventh inning. Three times, he has been lifted for a pinch hitter one half inning short. For the 20th straight start, Billingsley did not record an out in the seventh inning, but I foolishly predicted he would, so tonight's game recap is in pig latin. For Pig Latin, read here.
However, the story of the night was the inability of the Dodger offense to score enough runs off of Doug Davis, plus a bullpen implosion, and as a result the team lost 11-3.
Billingsley's night started off like he wouldn't get an out in the first inning, let alone the seventh. The first four batters reached best, amazingly enough all on singles to left fielder Reed Johnson. According to Phil Birnbaum, via Bob Timmermann of LA Observed, this was just the third game in the last 16 years opened with four straight singles to left field:
- April 28, 2007: Kansas City, off of Jeff Weaver and the Mariners
- May 30, 1994: Boston, off of Kevin Appier and the Royals
Billingsley allowed four runs on five hits in the first inning, throwing 26 pitches. After the Brewers scored four in their half of the inning, the Dodgers cashed in two of their own in the bottom of the first, and the game looked like it would be a high-scoring affair. But it wasn't to be. Billingsley settled down (or wasn't as unlucky) the rest of the way, allowing just two hits and two walks in his final five innings. With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Billingsley was lifted for Garret Anderson who delivered an RBI single, his first hit in 17 at-bats.
The Brewers were held scoreless for six straight innings, but tallied five runs in the eighth inning off of Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso, on a mix of hits, walks, and a botched pickle which featured the safe runner (Carlos Gomez) face-planting on an awkward slide back to second base. Those runs were more than enough insurance put the game away.
- James Loney drove in the Dodgers' first run of the night, making tonight the fifth straight game with an RBI for Loney
- After three days rest, tonight is the first time all season Ramon Troncoso has pitched with more than one day of rest this season. He has pitched in 17 of the Dodgers' 27 games this season, and is tied with Fernando Nieve of the Mets and Francisco Cordero of the Reds for the major league lead in games pitched
- Ronnie Belliard snapped an 0 for 16 skid of his own with a pair of singles
In case you missed it last night, here is Vin Scully's tribute to Ernie Harwell from last night, via goopotato on YouTube, which was transcribed this morning by Orel at Sons of Steve Garvey:
WP - Doug Davis (1-3): 5 2/3 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Chad Billingsley (2-2): 6 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts