Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 4

It was a two-game split, but when one of those teams leads the division by six games and the other is seven games back, the effect is that the rich get richer. Every D-backs win gives the rest of the division one less day to catch them over the next five-plus months. Billingsley got a tad testy — or as close as the mild-mannered Billingsley ever gets to being testy — when I asked him after the game about the similarities between his fifth-innings struggles in each of his past two starts. In fairness, he DID strike out a career-high 12 tonight, shattering his previous high of nine. He actually pointed out that unlike Saturday against Atlanta, he had actually run into trouble BEFORE the fifth inning tonight. Maybe so, but the effect on the outcome of the game was the same. Saturday, he led 1-0 before giving up four in the fifth. Tonight, it was 3-3 before he gave up two in the fifth, but that was too much for the Dodgers to overcome. Not that it was all Billingsley’s fault. The Dodgers went 2 for 8 w/RISP and stranded seven runners, five of them in scoring position. They also failed to score after loading the bags with one out in the sixth, largely because Matt Kemp struck out on a breaking pitch that broke about a foot off the plate. It also would have been interesting to see what would have happened if James Loney HADN’T curiously tried to tag and take second on Andre Ethier’s sac fly in the fourth, which plated Jeff Kent with the tying run. Not only did Loney almost get thrown out for the final out of the inning BEFORE Kent crossed the plate, which would have negated the run, but even by barely sliding in safely, Loney left first base open so No. 8 hitter Matt Kemp was walked intentionally to bring Billingsley to the plate. Chad grounded out to end the inning. … Dodgers fall to 9-13 and back into third place, seven behind the Snakes. Rockies in for three starting tomorrow night.

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