In Monday's late game, following Chad Billingsley's masterful performance today, the Rockies put up an five-run eighth inning to ruin Greg Maddux's bid for his eighth win and kibosh the Padres, 7-5. Scott Linebrink picked up the blown save and the loss on 4 ER in 0.2 IP, including a three-run HR to Matt Holliday. Cla Meredith, still in search of that last consonant for his first name, gave up another ER on a two-run HR by Brad Hawpe.
With the Padres' loss, the Dodgers move two games up in the NL West with a scant 62 games to play.
But hey, enough about the flailing Friars. Let's talk Dodger baseball. Tonight's 10-2 win was incredibly impressive and a nice shot in the arm for:
- Chad Billingsley, who pitched his first career complete game and almost got his first career shutout, if not for a ninth-inning two-out ball that took a zippy bounce past James Loney for a single (it wasn't ruled an error). The next batter hit a home run to break the shutout, but Billingsley settled to finish the game after that. Billingsley's pitch count was microscopically low through at least six innings (then I went out to my car, so I missed an inning there) and he ended up with 109 pitches, or four less than he made in five innings vs. the Phillies in his last start. Wow. That is exactly what a tired bullpen needed. Billingsley's complete game was the fourth by the Dodgers this year; Derek Lowe has all of the other three but all of those resulted in losses.
- Nomar Garciaparra, who saw his batting average get a shot in the arm, after he went 3-for-5 with singles in the fourth, seventh, and ninth innings. He had one RBI by singling home Luis Gonzalez from second (not an easy task), and was at the plate when a wild pitch scored Jeff Kent from third. Kent, btw, went 4-for-4 with two doubles; not a bad day either.
- James Loney, whose shot in the arm came literally, as he was plunked by a pitch early in the game and did not score that inning. Loney came up in the ninth and crushed a ball to right for a three-run HR, so I guess he's okay.
In other news, at one point in the radio broadcast, there was about five seconds of dead air that lasted between pitches. Rick Monday mentioned the 1-2 count, then all one heard was the crowd, then one heard the pitch pop in the catcher's glove and he mentioned the new count. What kind of broadcasting is this? Aren't there two guys (Rick and Jerry Reuss) in the booth? What are they doing, playing chess during the game? In a game like this after a deflating series loss to the Mets, there was plenty of positive stuff about which to talk. Yet our guys spent the airtime meditating.
Tell me why I don't like Mondays, indeed.