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Dodgers' pitchers struggle from start to finish

Vicente Padilla has his first bad outing with team and Chad Billingsley is booed in relief.

September 19, 2009|DYLAN HERNANDEZ

If there was any benefit of being down by a couple of runs with two innings to play, it was that it afforded the Dodgers the chance to call Chad Billingsley out of the bullpen for some on-field therapy to reshape his dented confidence.

So much for that idea.

After getting a couple of easy outs to start the eighth inning, Billingsley served up a towering home run to Aaron Rowand and gave up another run in the ninth, sealing the Dodgers' 8-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Billingsley was saved in the eighth by Andre Ethier's diving catch in right field, but his earned-run average climbed to a season-high 4.05 and he departed the game with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and some fans booing.

"I'm trying to figure something out," Billingsley said. "It's frustrating because I feel I'm so close, and I can't quite get it."

Whatever Billingsley failed to figure out Friday, he has five days to get right. Manager Joe Torre said that the All-Star right-hander, whom he sent to the bullpen two days earlier and scratched out of the rotation for the weekend, would start in Washington on Wednesday.

Torre said Friday wasn't a setback for Billingsley. "He's been down this road too often to have a couple of runs affect anything," he said.

The news wasn't all bad for the Dodgers.

With the Colorado Rockies falling in Arizona, they remained five games up in the National League West. Manny Ramirez had one of his rare nights when he looked like the Manny Ramirez of 2008, hitting a home run that drove in two runs and lining a double that knocked in another.

And Rafael Furcal was also back in old form, drawing two walks and hitting his first home run of the month.

Of course, none of that mattered with the Dodgers pitching the way they did.

Vicente Padilla had his first bad start for the Dodgers, as he was charged with four runs and eight hits in five innings. He ran into trouble as soon as he took the mound, serving up a leadoff home run in the first inning to Eugenio Velez.

The Dodgers tied the score when Ramirez's double drove in Ethier from first in the bottom of the inning.

The third inning was particularly rough for Padilla, who was 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his first four starts with the Dodgers.

He gave up five hits that inning, including a three-run home run to Pablo Sandoval that put the Giants up, 4-1. With that one swing, Sandoval drove in more runs than he had in his previous 16 games.

Ramirez made it a game again in the fourth inning, as he blasted his 19th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field that moved the Dodgers to within a run, 4-3.

Furcal's fifth-inning home run tied it at 4-4 and spelled the end for Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who remained 0-4 against the Dodgers.

Sanchez was charged with four runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings, his fate no better than it was six days earlier when he faced the Dodgers in San Francisco and gave up five runs and four hits.

But the stalemate didn't last long.

Ramon Troncoso started the sixth inning but couldn't pitch his way out of it, the doubles he gave up to Travis Ishikawa, Fred Lewis and Velez translating into two runs that put the Dodgers behind, 6-4.

The Dodgers had chances.

Orlando Hudson singled and Furcal walked in the seventh, but Russell Martin and Andre Ethier struck out in succession against Giants right-hander Sergio Romo to preserve the two-run cushion.

The Dodgers had two on with one out again in the eighth. This time, left-hander Jeremy Affeldt forced James Loney to fly out to left and struck out pinch-hitter Jim Thome looking.






10This is the combination of Dodgers wins and Colorado losses that will clinch the NL West title. H: home games left. R: road games left.

*--* NL WEST W L Pct GB H R Dodgers 88 60 595 -- 5 9 Colorado 83 65 561 5.0 9 5 *--*

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