Billingsley's Great But It's Not Enough

The Dodgers slid into third place after losing a tough, 1-0 decision to the league-leading Arizona Diamondbacks and are now closer to fourth place (1.5 games) than first (2.0). Chad Billingsley, continuing his good game-bad-game pattern, allowed five hits and an eighth inning home run to absorb his second loss of the season against seven wins.

According to Dodgers P.R. Director Josh Rawitch, 60 press credentials were distributed for the series opener with the Diamondbacks -- as opposed to 300 for each of the three games against the Giants.

Another booming crowd of 51,582 saw the Los Angeles offensive funk continue, although manager Grady Little shook up the lineup, benching slumping first baseman and starting slumping Olmedo Saenz and giving Delwyn Young his first start in place of Luis Gonzalez in left field. Both were 0-for-3.

Doug Davis (8-10) allowed Los Angeles only three singles and boosted the Diamondbacks to their 11th win in the last 13 and dropped the Dodgers to their seventh loss in the last nine. The standings;
 NL West	  w-l   pct  gm
Arizona	        61-50  .550  --
San Diego	58-50  .537  1.5
Los Angeles	58-51  .531  2.0
Colorado	56-52  .519  3.5
San Francisco	47-60  .439 12.0
As close as things are, they are even closer in the loss column. L.A. is just a game behind and Colorado two. The old baseball adage says you can always win a game but you can't get back a loss and obviously this thing will rumble down to the final game or so on the schedule before someone get a hot hand and spreads the field.

Billingsley threw only 108 pitches but a shot right down the line by catcher Chris Snyder leading off the seventh was sudden and decisive. After the Dodgers went out in order in the bottom of the seventh, stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley serenaded the crowd of 51,582 to a few choruses of "I've Got Plenty of Nothing."

The Dodgers had only four baserunners, and only one advanced past first base. One of them was catcher Russell Martin who twisted his ankle when he hit first base off-center in the fourth inning. He was then picked off.

The Dodgers left Juan Pierre on third base in the first inning. helped by his 44th stolen base of the season, and had only three baserunners for the rest of the game. They didn't record a hit after Martin's leadoff single in the fourth inning.

Arizona was doing little better. After a one-out single in the first, Billingsley retired 10 consecutive batters and didn't allow another baserunner until Chad Tracy hit a harmless two-out single in the fourth inning.

The Dodgers had a single scoring chance that came in the first inning. With one out, Pierre reached first on an infield single. Davis picked him off first, but the throw to second was wide of second base. Davis threw another pickoff attempt away and Pierre moved to third when it went into center field, but Martin bounced back to Davis and Saenz softly to right field.

So the Dodgers lost for the 10th time in the last 14 games and need injured Jeff Kent back in the lineup, but it probably won't be tonight when Derek Lowe makes his first start since injuring his hip.
 Score by innings
Arizona	        000 000 010-1
Los Angeles	000 000 000-0

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  1  0  .288
Pierre cf	3  0  1  0  .277
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .298
Saenz 1b	3  0  0  0  .179
Garciaparra 3b	3  0  0  0  .283
Kemp rf	        3  0  0  0  .331
Young lf	3  0  0  0  .000
Martinez 2b	3  0  0  0  .125
Billingsley p	2  0  0  0  .125
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Gonzalez ph	1  0  0  0  .283
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
   Totals	29 0 3 0
   DBacks	31 1 5 1

 SB- Pierre (44). CS- Martin (4). LOB- Los Angeles
3, Arizona 6. 
 Los Angeles	   in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (7-2) 7.2  5  1-1  2  8  3.43
Broxton	          0.1  0  0-0  1  0  2.60
Beimel	          1.0  0  0-0  1  1  3.97
 T- 2:32. Att- 51.682.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Little replaced struggling James Loney, in a 3-for-23 depression, with an equally inept Olmedo Sanez who was hitting .185, and since June 23 was only 1-for-20. Saenz has 81 at-bats through Thursday night; he had 150 at this point last season. ...The Dodgers had won seven of the nine meetings between these two teams this season and 11 of the last 14 since Aug. 26 of last season before losing last night. ...Roberto Hernandez recently appeared in his 996th career game and is close to becoming just the 12th pitcher in Major League history to pitch in 1,000 games. He currently ranks 12th on the all-time games pitched list, six behind Rich "Goose" Gossage (1,002).