A very telling moment in tonight's game, as caught by ESPN's cameras: Chad Billingsley was magnificent through five, allowing two hits and no runs over 83 pitches. With the pitcher's spot due to lead off the sixth inning, Billingsley, who had grabbed a bat and helmet, was shown trying to convince Joe Torre and the coaching staff to let him bat. But Torre wasn't having any of it, instead choosing to have Jason Schmidt pinch-hit (to preserve his bench with a four-run lead).
The sixth inning has been a bugaboo for Billingsley, and you love to see him rarin' to go out and conquer it. But with
him possibly hyperextending his left leg on a follow-though Billingsley experiencing a right-hamstring cramp in the fifth inning, Torre decided not to take any risks. And of course Schmidt singled and eventually scored, making Torre look like a gee-nee-uss.
Bat of the game goes to Matt Kemp (3-for-5, five RBIs), who popped a Earl Weaver-approved three-run homer in the fifth (the Dodgers' second three-run home run of the series!). Question mark of the game goes to Manny Ramirez (1-for-4, two runs, one nice defensive play), who, as Joe Morgan surmised, may still be feeling the effects of being hit on the hand by Homer Bailey.
Tonight's win salvages the road trip at 3-4. Not bad, given that the Dodgers dropped three straight to the Cardinals to start it off.
UPDATE: Billingsley exits with right hamstring cramp (Dodgers.com)