Dodgers 7, Padres 3
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Chad Billingsley did everything Thursday except get the win.
The way he pitched in his big league debut, it shouldn’t be long before he starts piling them up.
“He’s going to win a lot of games for the Dodgers,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said after Billingsley’s impressive performance in a 7-3 win over the San Diego Padres, which included a two-run single for his first hit.
Billingsley, 21, the Dodgers’ first-round pick in the June 2003 draft, left with the score tied at 2 in the sixth. Rafael Furcal drove in the go-ahead run with Los Angeles’ third straight single to open a four-run seventh against the Padres’ bullpen, and Jeff Kent added a two-run double. Kent had three hits and scored two runs.
The Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak to the Padres and avoided a three-game sweep. San Diego lost for the sixth time in 10 games.
With Brett Tomko’s start pushed back a day to Friday and Odalis Perez going back to the bullpen, the Dodgers purchased Billingsley’s contract from Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday. Little said the right-hander will stay in the rotation.
“I was happy with the performance,” Billingsley said. “I kept the guys in the game and we came out with the win. That’s all I really care about, and threw strong.”
Billingsley threw 27 pitches in the first inning and allowed two baserunners, but neither scored.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” he said. “I just went after guys, guys started fouling balls off. I was just trying to get through the first inning comfortably and go from there.”
Billingsley kept the Padres off balance early with his curveball and was consistently throwing his fastball at 95-96 mph. He also threw a sinker that he’s been working on in Triple-A.
With the score tied at 2 and one out in the sixth, Little came out to get Billingsley after he allowed Adrian Gonzalez’s single to right. Little patted Billingsley on the back, and the pitcher got fist bumps from teammates in the dugout. He allowed two runs and six hits—all singles—in 5 1-3 innings, struck out three and walked two.
“His composure was abnormal for a kid in his first day in the major leagues,” Little said. “He was well under control of himself and he got good results.”
Little said he was impressed that the rookie threw curveballs for called strikes, often while behind in the count. “That’s a very good quality to have,” Little said.
Billingsley also got another first out of the way—he was hit by a pitch from Chris Young in his first plate appearance.
Young, who had been impressive in winning his previous three starts, including taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Colorado on May 30, ran up a high pitch count early. He was laboring by the fourth inning and was done after five, having thrown 100 pitches.
Kent and Matt Kemp singled to open the fourth against the 6-foot-10 Young. Russell Martin walked with two outs to load the bases and Billingsley hit a bloop single into right field to score Kent and Kemp.
“I never really thought about like ever getting two RBIs on my first base hit, but whatever helps the team, I’m happy for it,” Billingsley said.
“The pitcher got the bat on the ball and it found a little hole out there,” Young said. “But that’s part of the game.”
Mark Bellhorn drew a leadoff walk and went to third on Geoff Blum’s single, but was thrown out trying to score on Josh Barfield’s grounder to third. Bowen singled to left to score Blum, and Roberts singled to left to bring in Barfield. With runners on first and second and one out, Billingsley retired Mike Cameron and Brian Giles.
The Dodgers surged ahead in the seventh, getting four hits, a sacrifice fly by Olmedo Saenz and two intentional walks against three relievers.
San Diego’s Vinny Castilla had his first career pinch-hit homer leading off the seventh against Broxton.
Young allowed two runs and three hits in five innings, struck out five and walked three.
While with Double-A Jacksonville last year, Billingsley and Broxton combined to pitch a 2-0 no-hitter on Sept. 8 in Game 1 of the Southern League South Division finals. … Young threw 11 pitches in the first and nine in the fifth, and 80 pitches in between. … Broxton’s other big league win also was at Petco Park, on Oct. 1.