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Dodgers' six-run inning cements win over Arizona

Starter Chad Billingsley pitches five shutout innings, give up a run in the sixth and gets into trouble in the seventh, exiting without recording an out. But the lead holds, and L.A. wins, 7-4.

August 05, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas connects for a two-run double in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night in Phoenix.
Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas connects for a two-run double in the third inning… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

Reporting from Phoenix — First, there was Jerry Sands. Then came Rubby De La Rosa and Dee Gordon.

On Saturday, the cash- and talent-deprived Dodgers will be forced to prematurely promote another of their top prospects to the major leagues.

As a result of De La Rosa's upcoming elbow operation, Manager Don Mattingly's baby-faced club will become even younger when 21-year-old Nate Eovaldi is sent the mound at Chase Field to face the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Eovaldi will be the fourth pitcher called up this season directly from double-A Chattanooga, following De La Rosa, closer Javy Guerra and reliever Josh Lindblom.

"We've been talking about him all year long," Mattingly said. "With Rubby going down, it gives him a chance to throw a few games, see where we're at with him."

Eovaldi is a survivor of the same Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery De La Rosa is scheduled to undergo next week, only he had the procedure done in high school. Questions about his durability and signability caused him to fall in the 2011 draft, allowing the bargain-hunting Dodgers to snap him up in the 11th round.

Like De La Rosa, Eovaldi is a hard-throwing right-hander with a mid-90s fastball. Like De La Rosa, he is said to have the mental resilience of a more experienced pitcher. Eovaldi was 6-5 with a 2.62 earned-run average in 20 starts with Chattanooga.

Five years ago, Chad Billingsley was the hot-shot 21-year-old making his major league debut.

"He's going to have a lot of adrenaline, a lot of emotion," Billingsley said. "It will be a blast. It will be fun. It will be fun to watch."

A former first-round pick, Billingsley has come a long way since his first big league game in 2006. He is a former All-Star guaranteed to earn more than $40 million through the 2014 season.

Billingsley was credited with the win in the Dodgers' 7-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, improving to 10-9.

But he once again displayed the inconsistency that has prevented him from becoming a true front-line starter, as he pitched five scoreless innings, only to give up three runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Billingsley's win was in danger as he exited in the seventh inning without recording an out.

With one out, the bases loaded and the Dodgers' lead down to 6-3, Arizona right fielder Justin Upton hit a line drive off reliever Mike MacDougal. Rookie shortstop Dee Gordon made a spectacular diving catch and doubled off Sean Burroughs at second base.

The Dodgers, who received a pregame pep talk from NCAA wrestling champion Anthony Robles, who has one leg, equaled their season high for runs in an inning in the third.

In that inning, they scored six runs against Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter to take a 6-0 lead. The Dodgers had seven hits in the inning, the first a bunt single by Gordon off Collmenter and the last a two-run double by Rod Barajas against reliever Micah Owings.

Barajas later hit his 10th home run of the season, an eighth-inning solo shot that bumped the Dodgers' lead to 7-3.

Guerra recorded the first four-out save of his career, forcing Upton to fly out to center to end the game.

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