Adding to the Dodgers discomfort, the scheduled starter, former teammate Chan Ho Park, when scheduled starter Chan Ho Park suffered a recurrence of the intestinal bleeding that had previously landed him on the disabled list and was unavailable.
Not to worry, the Padres put in a call to Portland and Tim Stauffer grabbed his shaving kit and caught the next plane south, arriving just two hours before the game. He didn't find out he would face the Dodgers until he saw fans wearing Los Angeles uniform shirts outside the park.
Then morphing into his best Cy Young impersonation, he set down the first 10 Dodgers he saw and went on to allow three hits over the first six innings on an economical 66 pitches. He gave up two runs but only one was earned.
The San Diego bullpen -- Alan Embree, Clay Meredith, Scott Linebrink and Trevor Hoffman -- had little more trouble the final three innings and after just less than two and one-half hours they were back in the clubhouse with their lead cut to three games.
Billingsley, like the little girl with the curl, when he is good he is very, very good but when he is bad, well, he's still pretty good -- as his 3.19 ERA shows -- but he makes it tough on the bullpen.
He allowed single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the tying run crossing the plate when right fielder J.D. Drew, lost a fly ball in the lights in the fifth inning that allowed Dave Roberts to score the tying run.
San Diego put two more one-run innings in sequence, tagging Elmer Dessens (0-1) with the loss in the sixth when the first batter he faced, Mike Cameron, slugged a triple and Adrian Gonzalez got him in with a ground ball.
The struggling Padres managed consecutive wins for the second time in 14 games and with Arizona losing, they moved into second place by themselves, while the Dodgers lost for the fourth time in 23 games.
Stauffer retired his first 10 batters before allowing Kenny Lofton's single to center in the fourth and walking J.D. Drew with two outs. The runners advanced on Piazza's passed ball and scored on Jeff Kent's looping single, which landed just in front of center fielder Mike Cameron.
Despite the pitch count, both runs credited to Billingsley could have been avoided. Russell Martin couldn't handle a pitch that banged off the backstop and his throw to the plate hit the batter in the back.
San Diego tied it in the fifth when Dave Roberts scored on the ball lost in the lights. Walker's two-out double. San Diego added it's final in the seventh against Joe Beimel when Brian Giles doubled home Rob Bowen.
The Dodgers bullpen lost it's first game in nearly a month and Billingsley certainly pitched well enough to win. A team doesn't win many games when it only scores two runs.
The Dodgers at one time called Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego "Death Valley." Moving to a new park doesn't seem to have changed anything.
Score by innings Dodgers 000 200 000-2 San Diego 000 111 10x-4 Dodgers ab r h bi ave Furcal, SS 4 0 0 0 .285 Lofton, CF 4 1 1 0 .318 Garciaparra, 1B 4 0 1 0 .330 Drew, RF 3 1 0 0 .277 Kent, 2B 4 0 2 2 .265 Ethier, LF 3 0 1 0 .343 Betemit, 3B 3 0 0 0 .272 Martin, C 3 0 1 0 .290 Billingsley, P 2 0 0 0 .050 Dessens, P 0 0 0 0 .000 Beimel, P 0 0 0 0 .000 Lugo, PH 0 0 0 0 .297 Tomko, P 0 0 0 0 .120 Totals 30 2 6 2 Padres 31 4 9 3 RBI-Kent 2 (57). LOB- Los Angeles 3, San Diego 5. CS- Martin (40. Dodgers in h r-er bb so era Billingsley 5.0 6 2-2 1 5 3.19 Dessens (5-8) 1.0 1 1-1 0 0 4.29 Beimel 1.0 2 1-1 0 0 3.73 Tomko 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 4.66 WP- Billingsley. HBP- Lugo. T- 2:25. Att- 33,244.Doger Blue Notes-- Manager Grady Little fees that 87 victories will win the National League West. The Dodgers need to go just 21-16 the rest of the way to get to the magic 87 . The Padres, who just took over sole possession of second place, would need to go 24-13 to reach 87, while the Diamondbacks would have to go 24-12 and the Rockies and Giants 28-10.