LOS ANGELES -- The pressure was all on Javy Guerra. The 25-year-old rookie loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers clinging to a one-run lead.
"The first thought is just slow it down, go in and get a strikeout," he said. "Before you can get three (outs), you got to get one. That's how I break it down."Guerra did just that, earning his third save in as many chances in the Dodgers' 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
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Chad Billingsley is blossoming in his own way, and the sometimes forgotten ace showed the Dodgers just how valuable he is in a 1-0 win, writes Tony Jackson. Story
Chad Billingsley scattered four hits over eight innings and Rafael Furcal singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth for the Dodgers, who earned their second straight shutout win."I just made big pitches when I needed to," Billingsley said.Billingsley (8-7) struck out four and walked a season-high five. It was the fourth consecutive start the right-hander had allowed fewer than two runs through the first six innings and he won only one of those games. In his previous start, Billingsley took a shutout into the seventh inning against the Angels last Saturday. He gave up three runs in that inning and lost 3-1."He's becoming more of a complete pitcher, mixing pitches and slowing the game down," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "I just reminded him, one pitch at a time. He grinded out eight innings."Billingsley was pinch-hit for in the eighth by Jamey Carroll, who sacrificed pinch runner Trent Oeltjen to second after Ellis led off with a single. Oeltjen was held up at third by coach Tim Wallach on a single to right by Tony Gwynn Jr. But Furcal singled on an 0-1 pitch to break the scoreless tie and chase Mat Latos, who got a visit from manager Bud Black just before that at-bat.It was Furcal's first RBI since returning from the disabled list last Saturday and first since a three-RBI game on May 29. He came in hitting 1-for-12 on the homestand."He wants to come through," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Furcal. "He takes it personally when he's not getting on base."In the ninth, Cameron Maybin led off with a double to right and Guerra hit Anthony Rizzo on the left foot with his next pitch. Guerra then hit Rob Johnson on his right hand with the next pitch."They opened the door for us," Black said. "Cam hit a bullet, which was legit, and then their guy gave us a golden opportunity that we couldn't cash in on."Guerra settled down and struck out pinch hitter Kyle Phillips and Will Venable before Jason Bartlett's line drive to center field was caught by Matt Kemp to end the game and give the Dodgers their second straight shutout."For a young guy, that's really impressive. He's obviously got good stuff. It's electric stuff," Johnson said.Latos (5-10) allowed five hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings, struck out six and walked two to lose his second straight and remain winless at Dodger Stadium in four career starts."Johnny (Rob Johnson) called an unbelievable game. To be honest, this was his doing, not mine. He was inside my head the whole time," Latos said. "It was the pitches that he wanted and he told me exactly where it wanted it. I threw it and I executed it. I had really good command of my fastball. I was able to put it down and away to right-handers and left-handers. My velocity was there and everything was really smooth."The Dodgers got no offense from All-Stars Andre Ethier and Kemp. Ethier was hitless in three at-bats with a walk, while Kemp went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk.The Padres got a runner to third base in the first inning before Billingsley retired the final two batters. Billingsley pitched with runners on base in every inning except the seventh, when Rizzo and Johnson both flied out to the warning track.The Dodgers didn't advance a runner past first base through seven innings.
The Dodgers tied Atlanta for the second-most shutouts in the NL with 10. ... The Padres were shut out for the 14th time this season. ... The Dodgers fired former All-Star 1B Steve Garvey on Friday for his attempts to try to buy the team from owner Frank McCourt. Garvey, who worked in marketing and community relations, had been with the organization for 30 years. ... It was the fourth time this season Billingsley pitched more than seven innings. He didn't win any of the first three. ... The Padres recalled C Luis Martinez from Triple-A Tucson and placed C Nick Hundley on the 15-day DL with a strained right elbow.