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Offense shows life, but Chad Billingsley struggles in Dodgers' 7-5 loss to Rockies

April 6, 2011 |  3:30 pm


And on the seventh day, they discovered a little offense. Alas, it was too little.

A day after being shut out for the second time in their first five games, the Dodgers used solo home runs from James Loney and Rod Barajas -- doubling their team total -- to take an early 4-2 lead.

Yet with Chad Billingsley struggling throughout, and reliever Blake Hawksworth doing more of the same, it hardly proved enough as the Rockies rallied for a 7-5 victory Wednesday in Denver.

Billingsley lasted three innings, throwing 86 pitches -- including 42 in an excruciating third inning. He gave up five runs on six hits and three walks. It is in Denver, of course, where Billingsley has enjoyed about as much success as the Winter Olympics.

The Dodgers have seen this three-inning performance routine before and now can only hope that things turn around for Billingsley in the same way that they have in the past.

The last time he lasted three innings was a year ago in Cincinnati, where the Reds knocked him out with seven runs on seven hits. Afterward, Billingsley met with then-manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.

That meeting was viewed as a turning point for Billingsley, who recovered to finish with a solid season, pitching particularly effectively in the second half (3.05 earned-run average).

Billingsley (1-1, 8.00 ERA) recently agreed to a three-year, $35-million contract extension. He is only 26, so it’s not as if anyone is going to get too worked up over a bad outing in Denver. But Wednesday’s effort did waste a 10-hit game by the Dodgers.

If the Dodgers are going to make any decisions based on the early going, then it might be time to give up on the Hector Gimenez experiment when Jay Gibbons returns. Gimenez struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth with two runners on, did not look good doing it, and is one for six this season.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley works the first inning against the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon in Denver. Credit: Barry Gutierrez / Associated Press