Posted April 08, 2012 on AP on Fox
D3
Chad Billingsley knew he was on a short leash when he went back out to the mound to start the ninth inning. Sure enough, as soon as Billingsley gave up Cameron Maybin's one-out single, Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly came out to get the right-hander. That was OK with Billingsley, who struck out 11 and allowed only three hits in the Dodgers' 6-0 victory over the punchless San Diego Padres on Friday night. ''You definitely never want to come out of the game, but it was like 110 pitches or so in your first game out and you don't want to go overboard in the first outing,'' Billingsley said. ''You have 30-plus more starts.'' The impressive start by Billingsley (1-0) came a day after reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw came out after three innings because of the stomach flu in the Dodgers' 5-3 season-opening win. Billingsley retired pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida leading off the ninth before allowing Maybin's single to left. Mattingly, accompanied to the mound by boos from Dodgers fans, summoned Jamey Wright to get the final two outs. Andre Ethier drove in four runs with a double and triple. ''Bills, obviously right out of the gate, was really good,'' Mattingly said. ''Andre gets us going with two in the first off a lefty. Really, both of those guys kind of set the tone for us.'' Even though Billingsley kept the Padres off-balance all night, Mattingly wasn't tempted to let him continue after Maybin's single. Billingsley threw 108 pitches. ''You just can't do it first time out,'' Mattingly said. ''I'm not going to let him run up to 120 the first time out of the gate. He's probably been to 103 or something this year in spring training. He wanted to go back out in the ninth, but it was like, if anybody got on there ... Our biggest nightmare was having to get six or eight pitches to get an out. It really wasn't that hard of a thing at that point, at this point of the season. ''He didn't throw many bad balls,'' Mattingly said. ''It was just one of those days that everything felt really good,'' Billingsley said. ''Good tempo, good rhythm out there.'' Billingsley walked one and reached double digits in strikeouts for the ninth time in his career. He was on from the start, striking out the side in the first inning and again in the third. He had at least one strikeout in every inning except the eighth and ninth. ''Tonight was probably as good as I've seen him from start to finish, throwing the ball extremely well to both sides of the plate, and mixing pitches,'' Padres manager Bud Black said about Billingsley. The Padres committed two more errors, giving them five in the first two games. They've struck out 18 times in 18 innings. After being shut out 19 times last year, the most in the majors, it took just two games for them to get blanked this year. Ethier lined a double into the gap in right-center with two outs in the first to bring in Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera, who singled. With two outs in the fifth, Ethier tripled off the fence in right-center to score Matt Kemp, who had singled, and Rivera, who walked. That gave the Dodgers a 6-0 lead and chased Cory Luebke (0-1), who agreed late in spring training to a contract that could be worth $27.75 million if the Padres exercise his options for 2016 and 2017. ''I didn't put them where I wanted,'' Luebke said about the pitches to Ethier. ''Bad pitches at a bad time.'' The Dodgers also scored twice in the third inning, on three hits and two errors. Ellis doubled and Kemp beat out an infield single, with third baseman Chase Headley's throw pulling first baseman Yonder Alonso off the bag. As Ellis was sliding into home, Alonso's throw hit him for an error, which advanced Kemp to second. Luebke's errant pickoff throw allowed Kemp to advance, and he scored on Rivera's single. Notes: San Diego's poor fielding in the first two games comes after they posted a .985 fielding percentage in 2011, which tied for fourth in the NL and tied for sixth in the majors. ... The four-game series continues Saturday night when LHP Chris Capuano is scheduled to make his Dodgers debut. Capuano was 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA with the New York Mets in 2011. The Padres will counter with Dustin Moseley, who was 3-10 with a 3.30 ERA.
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