SAN FRANCISCO — Chad Billingsley pitched the kind of game Saturday that illustrated why the Dodgers haven’t given up on him.
Billingsley was brilliant in a 10-0 victory over the first-place San Francisco Giants, limiting them to four hits over 7 1/3 innings.
“When Chad’s locked in and he’s throwing the ball the way he’s capable of, he’s as good as anybody in the National League,” catcherA.J. Ellis said.
The win was the second for Billingsley (6-9) since he came off the disabled list five days earlier. In his first game back, Billingsley beat theSt. Louis Cardinalsto snap a personal five-start losing streak.
Billingsley, who was sidelined because of soreness in his elbow, didn’t think that he benefited from resting for two weeks. Manager Don Mattingly and his coaches weren’t so sure of that.
“Looking back, it was probably the best thing for him,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told Mattingly during the game.
Billingsley credited his fastball command for his dominance. He gave up only two hits in the first seven innings. He didn’t walk a batter all game.
“Today, I had good fastball command and I was attacking the zone with it,” Billingsley said. “I really didn’t throw too much off speed. I was throwing four-seamers, sinkers and cutters.”
Billingsley didn’t credit his improved fastball command to the time he spent on the disabled list, pointing out that his control has been good all season.
His strikeouts-to-walk ratio is 3.03, the best of his career. In his four starts this month, including two before his stint on the disabled list, Billingsley struck out 19 and walked only one.
Billingsley’s last victory at AT&T; Park came more than five years ago, on July 13, 2007.
Ethier survives scare
A spectacular seventh-inning catch nearly turned catastrophic for Andre Ethier, who crashed into the gates that make up part of the right-field wall at AT&T; Park.
Ethier fell and twisted his knee. He was replaced the following inning by Tony Gwynn Jr.
Ethier avoided serious injury and Mattingly said he expected him to play in the series finale Sunday.
“We didn’t want to take any chances,” Mattingly said.
De La Rosa on the mend
Ted Lilly won’t be the only pitcher starting a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday. Rubby De La Rosa will be too.
De La Rosa, 23, looked like a star in the making as a rookie last season. Armed with a 100-mph fastball, he was 4-5 with a 3.71 earned-run average. But he blew out his elbow and underwent season-ending surgery in August.
Shortstop Luis Cruz extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest for any Dodger this season. Cruz was two for four with a double and a run.