A six-run outburst in the third inning was enough for Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers to take the opener of the three-game series with a 7-4 win over the Diamondbacks. The game began with several nice catches in the outfield by both teams, most notably a diving grab by Gerardo Parra in the first inning and a catch in the right field corner by Andre Ethier. But the Dodgers broke through the defense in the top of the third inning.
Dee Gordon began the inning with a beautiful rolling bunt up the third base line that stayed on the dirt along the edge of the grass all the way until Ryan Roberts picked it up just before the ball would have hit the third base bag. After Gordon stole second base, he scored on a Casey Blake single, but only after the ball was bobbled by Justin Upton in right field. Andre Ethier doubled in Blake, then singles by Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera brought Ethier home. A sacrifice fly by Aaron Miles made it 4-0, and after a single by James Loney, Rod Barajas doubled home the final two runs of the inning.
The six runs in the third inning tied the most in one inning by the Dodgers this year. They also scored six runs in the third inning at Wrigley Field on April 22. The starter that day...was Billingsley.
Those six runs knocked out Josh Collmenter, who has been roughed up by the Dodgers on successive Fridays. Arizona manager was going to skip Collmenter in the rotation after Thursday's off day, but decided against it to give his other starters an extra day of rest. The six days rest didn't help Collmenter tonight, who is a far cry from his first major league start, a win against Billingsley and the Dodgers on May 14. Here are Collmenter's numbers against the Dodgers this season:
- First MLB start: 6 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts
- Last two starts: 6 IP, 15 hits, 11 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Arizona scratched across a run in the sixth, but Billingsley was still cruising along until hitting a wall in the seventh. He faced four batters in the inning, and didn't record an out, as a walk and three successive singles ended Billingsley's night. Three different Dodger relievers faced the next three Diamondbacks.
Willie Bloomquist faced Matt Guerrier, and hit a smash to second base that could have been a double play ball, but Jamey Carroll couldn't field it cleanly, and Blooomquist was credited with a single to but the Dodger lead to 6-3
Scott Elbert was brought in to face the left-handed Kelly Johnson, but Gibson countered with the right-handed Cody Ransom. Elbert cut out a letter K from a magazine and taped it to a note, for the first out of the inning. Then it was nervous time.
Mike MacDougal came in to face Justin Upton, who was hitting roughly .745/.920/1.768 over the last month or so*, with the bases loaded and one out. However, fortune smiled upon MacDougal, as Upton smashed a low line drive ticketed for left field, only it was caught by a diving Dee Gordon, who turned and threw to second to complete the inning-ending double play.
*Upton is actually hitting .397/.451/.905 with 16 extra-base hits in his last 16 games.
- The Dodgers have won the opening game of the series all four times against the Diamondbacks this season. However, in each of the previous three series, the Dodgers also lost the final two games.
- Rivera singled and also walked three times. It was the second three-walk game of his career, matching June 5, 2010 against Seattle, when Rivera was with the Angels.
- Blake had three hits in his previous 21 at-bats, dating back to the end of June, before his 3-for-5 night tonight.
- Barajas had two hits for his second straight game, including his 10th home run of the season. Barajas is the first Dodger catcher with double-digit home runs since Russell Martin in 2008.
- Javy Guerra got the final four outs for his 10th save of the season. It was the first four-out save of his career, and matched Guerra's longest outing, set previously on June 4 in Cincinnati. Guerra had entered to begin an inning in 23 of his previous 26 appearances.
- Ex-Dodger prospect Trayvon Robinson made his major league debut tonight in Anaheim with the Mariners. In addition to collecting his first major league hit, Robinson made this fantastic home run-saving catch to rob Tori Hunter.
- After the game, the Dodgers made it official: Nate Eovaldi will make his major league debut Saturday night, facing Joe Saunders for Arizona. John Ely was optioned to make room for Eovaldi. The Dodgers 40-man roster now has 39 players.
WP - Chad Billingsley (10-9): 6+ IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP - Josh Collmenter (6-7): 2 1/3 IP, 8 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv - Javy Guerra (10): 1 1/3 IP, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts