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How low can you go? Giants blank Dodgers, 5-0, to leave them 13 1/2 back

July 18, 2011 | 10:18 pm

Hello, anybody down there?

Oh, hey, it’s the Dodgers! Sorry, when a team is buried 13½ games out of first and it’s only the middle of July, it can be hard to locate.

The Dodgers got pushed still deeper into their hole Monday, the Giants taking delight in blanking them, 5-0, behind right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.

This is the largest deficit the Dodgers have faced this season, and if they were hoping against hope to start the second half with a flurry to revive their slimmest of comeback hopes, they’re grasping at air now. This was their third consecutive loss.

The Dodgers have trouble scoring against anyone, but now they were up against a Giants team with the fourth-best ERA (3.17) in baseball and it figured to be a struggle (not that they all aren’t).

Chad Billingsley kept them in the game for five innings, but at some point the offense was going to have to chip in. And, as has been the case on too many nights, it wasn’t going to happen.

Billingsley had been pitching very well of late, entering Monday’s game having gone 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his last four starts.

And he pitched well through five, the only run he allowed coming on a solo home run by Pablo Sandoval in the fourth.

Of course, the way the Dodgers have been scoring -- and the way Vogelsong was pitching -- a 1-0 lead was looking fairly intimidating.

Then came the sixth, and the return of the Billingsley who, one way or another, just cannot win in San Francisco.

The Giants batted around, tagging Billingsley (8-8) for four runs and building their healthy 5-0 lead. And the Giants are 48-13 when they score at least three runs.

Vogelsong (7-1) hadn’t pitched in the majors in five years before this season, but he’s back from Japan, back from shoulder surgery, to become one of the year’s feel-good stories.

He went 6 2/3 innings, shutting the Dodgers out on seven hits -- six were singles. Jamey Carroll’s pinch-hit double in the seventh is the Dodgers’ only extra-base hit in the past two games.

The Dodgers are currently one streaky team, and it’s not working to their benefit. After losing five consecutive games, they came back to win five straight but now have a three-game losing skid going.


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley wipes his face as he is pulled from the game during the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 5-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Credit: John G. Mabanglo / EPA