SAN DIEGO, CA – After a sensational start for Opening Day, the Dodgers look to keep the momentum as the face their neighbors from the south the Padres, in an evening showdown.
Chad Billingsley had a tall task at hand, yet was recharged and ready for the challenge, just a day after Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw came out of the opener due to stomach flu. Padres pitcher Cory Luebke didn’t start out well, after having Dodger hitters Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera on first and second base. With two outs in the first inning Andre Either hit a double to right center allowing Ellis and Rivera to score, Dodgers led 2-0.
Ellis hit a double, then Matt Kemp hit an infield single, with Padres third baseman Chase Headley’s throw pulling first baseman Yonder Alonso off the bag. Ellis made a move to slide home, Alonso made a bad throw, for an error which allowed Kemp to move to second base in the third inning. Thanks to Luebke lackluster throw, the attempt to pick off Kemp failed, as he was able to move to third. Rivera hit a single, that scored Kemp, Dodgers led 4-0.
Billingsley continued to dominate, punishing the Padres, as he continued to receive run support from his fellow Dodger hitters.
Luebke walks Rivera, Kemp hits a single, and now with runners in scoring position Andre Either comes to the plate. With two outs in the fifth inning, Either knocked a triple off the right field fence, scoring Rivera and Kemp to make increase the lead 6-0.
The Padres would go on to make two more errors in the game, which brought the total of five errors in two games.
Billingsley continued to put the pressure on the Padres as he continued to keep them off balance all night with strikes, throwing a series of change ups and sliders.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was anxious to get Billingsley relieve in the ninth inning. Billingsley knew if he allowed a hit or a run, that he would be yanked immediately. As he faced Cameron Maybin who singled with one out, Mattingly came out to get his perfect pitcher for the night. Billingsley didn’t seem bothered by it, as he retired 11 batters, allowed three hits on 108 pitches in his shutout season debut. Dodger fans were not happy at all by the Mattingly move, as there were boos from the Dodger faithful.
Jamey Wright got the save as the Dodger defeated the Padres 6-0, who were shut out so far twice this season. Last season they set a major league record being shut out 19 times.
Padres manager Bud Black spoke about Billingsley’s perfect performance “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.”
“It was just one of those days that everything felt really good. Good tempo, good rhythm out there” Billingsley speaking about his performance.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly talked about why he didn’t allow Billingsley to finish the game “You just can’t do it first time out. 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.”
The Dodgers continue their quest of perfection as they take on the Padres on Saturday, sending Chris Capuano to the mound against a sharp Dustin Moseley.