Loney looks to extend his hitting streak to start the season to 12 games Sunday and help the Dodgers (5-6) capture their three-game home series with the San Diego Padres.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound first baseman emerged as one of Los Angeles’ top hitters last season after making his 2007 debut on June 10, hitting .331 with 15 homers and 67 RBIs.
He’s hit safely in every game this season for the longest streak of his career and went 3-for-3 to help the Dodgers end a four-game skid with an 11-1 win on Saturday. Loney is hitting .400 (16-for-40) during his streak.
Andre Ethier homered and had three hits Saturday for Los Angeles, which had a season-high 12 hits in its highest-scoring game of the season.
Struggling center fielder Andruw Jones, however, went 0-for-3 with two walks. Jones is 4-for-38 (.105) this season.
“I don’t know whether you can ever consider Andruw Jones not dangerous,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He’s been too good of a player for too long just to think that you’re going to get him out.”
Chad Billingsley (0-1, 9.64) had a terrible first start of 2008 for Los Angeles, but he enjoyed plenty of success against San Diego last season. He went 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA in six appearances against the Padres, including three starts, in 2007.
The right-hander also worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in a 7-1 loss to San Diego on April 4 before he was inserted into the rotation on Tuesday in Arizona.
Billingsley struggled with his control against the Diamondbacks and lost after lasting just 2 1-3 innings, giving up five runs and five hits in a 10-5 loss. He struck out one, walked three and hit two batters.
“I didn’t have pretty much anything,” he said. “Obviously, I was struggling with my command. It was one of those days when nothing was there.”
The Padres (6-6) will try to salvage a split of their six-game road trip behind the pitcher who began it with a win. Four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux (1-0, 2.77) looks for his 349th victory after he allowed one run and three hits over seven innings in an 8-4 win at San Francisco on Tuesday.
“Mentally he doesn’t cave in if he doesn’t feel good or is a little bit off,” Black said. “Some guys don’t fight through that but he does. Every pitch he tries to get it together.”
Maddux is 4-1 with a 3.52 ERA in his last five starts against the Dodgers, the team he pitched for part of the 2006 season. He is 6-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 16 starts as a visitor to Dodger Stadium.
The Padres will play their second straight game without right fielder Brian Giles, who is bothered by discomfort in his right side and won’t see action until Tuesday. Paul McAnulty went 0-for-3 in his place Saturday.