Loney & Billingsley Lead Another Laugher

James Loney hadn’t thrilled the home crowd with a homer since August 31, 2010, when he took Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick deep. He’s now done it twice in four days, tonight leading the Dodgers with three hits as they battered Colorado’s Jason Hammel and the reeling Rockies on their way to a 7-1 win. Loney’s certainly playing like a man who wants to keep his job, and a .295/.354/.420 in May is certainly a good start. It’ll certainly take more than that to overcome everything else, but it’s a step in the right direction, and for all the heat he’s taken here and elsewhere over the last year, it’s fantastic to see any bit of a spark from him. I’ll take it – and I’ll also take six hits from the top third of the lineup, as Rafael Furcal, Jamey Carroll, and Andre Ethier each chipped in two. Considering all three of these guys were struggling just a few days ago, having them all click at the same time is a welcome sight.

Chad Billingsley allowed just one run over seven innings, striking out eight, which sounds great on the surface but doesn’t quite illustrate how much of a tight line he was walking. Billingsley allowed eleven hits, which is a new career high, and allowed the first man to reach in each of his last six innings. (Scott Elbert let his first man reach too, so make that seven consecutive innings.) Despite that, the only Colorado damage came on a Ty Wigginton blast in the 4th, which somehow came without anyone on base, as Todd Helton‘s leadoff walk was erased by Seth Smith‘s ensuing double play. Hardly the most dominating we’ve seen Billingsley, though I suppose he deserves the W tonight based simply on all the times he was dominant and received no support from the subpar offense. Still, he managed to string most of those hits across different innings without allowing Colorado to put up the one big inning you’d think that sort of baserunner total would lead to, and that’s a performance worth noting (with credit due to Matt Kemp for unleashing a laser throw to the plate to end the first inning, the only time Colorado could string some hits together) . But don’t forget, kids, Billingsley can’t pitch with a lead, right?

Keeping this one short and sweet tonight, since it’s the end of a gorgeous holiday weekend. Plenty of fun to come this week, though.

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