SAN FRANCISCO — Chad Billingsley almost reached the promised land.
As it was, Billingsley got to a place no other Dodger reached in the team's three consecutive shutout defeats to the San Francisco Giants: third base.
That happened in the third inning in the Dodgers' 3-0 loss Wednesday, when the pitcher doubled against Tim Lincecum and reached third base on a wild pitch. Lincecum threw another pitch to the backstop and Billingsley bolted for home.
Catcher Hector Sanchez retrieved the ball and tossed it to Lincecum, whom Billingsley slid into. Billingsley's feet appeared to touch home plate before Lincecum's high tag, but he was called out by plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth.
Billingsley later said he didn't know if he was safe. From his obstructed view in the visiting dugout, Manager Don Mattingly said he thought Billingsley was out and didn't protest the ruling.
With that, Billingsley was resigned to the same fate as Clayton Kershaw and Nathan Eovaldi in the series — pitching with absolutely no run support.
Billingsley (4-7) was charged with three runs and nine hits in six innings, extending his personal losing streak to three games.
Billingsley gave up two runs in the third inning, when he served up a run-scoring double to Melky Cabrera and walked Angel Pagan with the bases loaded. Pagan singled in Ryan Theriot two innings later to extend the Giants' lead to 3-0.
Billingsley said he wasn't affected by the knowledge that the Dodgers were in the midst of a slump. Catcher A.J. Ellis didn't think the lack of offense was adding pressure on the pitchers.
"I don't sense it," Ellis said. "If I did, I would address it."
Mark Ellis close to return
Mark Ellis underwent an emergency operation less than six weeks ago to prevent his left leg from having to be amputated. But the veteran second baseman could be back playing for the Dodgers in another week.
Ellis could start a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga as early as this weekend. Mattingly said Ellis probably would be ready to be activated after four or five minor league appearances.
"We're trying to get him around 20 at-bats," Mattingly said.
Lee moving up
Recently promoted from Class A, top pitching prospect Zach Lee had a promising debut with double-A Chattanooga (Tenn.).
Lee held the Mississippi Braves to an unearned run and six hits over six innings. He struck out four.
Before his promotion, he was 2-3 with a 4.55 earned-run average over 12 starts with Rancho Cucamonga.
Lee, 20, was the Dodgers' first-round draft pick in 2010. A star quarterback in high school, Lee accepted a $5.25-million signing bonus and walked away from a football scholarship at Louisiana State.