Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley gave up 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against… (Mark Duncan / Associated…)
Chad Billingsley can be everything. Good and bad, exciting and deflating, an All-Star one year and post a career-high earned-run average the next.
And sometimes, he can even be all those things in one game.
It was only spring –- sorry, the mantra is required –- but Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, Billingsley showed all his sides in a 4-3 victory for the Dodgers against the White Sox.
For the first three innings, Billingsley looked a lot like the guy his detractors are absolutely certain will never reach his potential. Then he retired eight consecutive batters.
By his day’s end, the numbers were hardly encouraging: 11 hits and two walks, leading to three runs in 5 2/3 innings. His spring ERA was left at 4.91.
Not exactly the kind of numbers the Dodgers are hoping for from the right-hander they’re looking at as their No. 2 starter this season.
But he also struck out five, and all 11 hits were singles.
Billingsley is coming off his first season when he didn’t post a winning record (11-11). His ERA rose to 4.21 and strikeouts per nine innings (7.3) were the lowest in his last five seasons.
The Dodgers have lost Hiroki Kuroda and need Billingsley to finally take that next step. Like right now.
The Dodgers did have to like the results of all the relievers who followed Billingsley. Jamey Wright, Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert and Ronald Belisario held the White Sox scoreless the rest of the game. Elbert struck out three in his one inning.
Wright, a non-roster invitee, appears to have earned a spot on the 40-man roster.
The relief corps enabled a slow-starting Dodgers offense to rally. Left-hander John Danks shut out the Dodgers through four innings, but they scored twice in the fifth on a single by Juan Rivera, double by Andre Ethier and single by Matt Treanor.
Of Ethier’s 12 hits this spring, 14 have been for extra bases.
Their Dee Gordon offense tied it in the sixth: bunt single, stolen base, advance on a ground out, score on a Jerry Hairston Jr. sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers won it in the bottom of the ninth after two walks preceded a game-winning single by Jerry Sands off ex-Dodger Eric Stults.
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