Chad Billingsley is cruising, and Luis Cruz is, well, chadding.
The Dodger starting pitcher and infielder each continued their hot ways, pushing the Dodgers to a 5-0 victory at Atlanta today, completing a 7-3 East Coast roadtrip.
Allowing three hits over seven innings underneath the summer Georgia sun, Billingsley improved to 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA since coming off the disabled list. Billingsley gave up only three hits and walked two while striking out four, throwing 101 pitches.
Billingsley’s only trouble inning was the fourth, when the Braves fouled off 13 of his pitches before Jason Heyward hit a two-out triple. Freddie Freeman then walked on five pitches, but Billingsley got Dan Uggla to pop out on the 30th pitch of the inning.
Impressively, Billingsley also blew Heyward away on a swinging strike three measured at 93 miles per hour with Michael Bourn on third base with two out in the sixth.
According to the Dodger press notes, Billingsley is the first Dodger to win six consecutive starts since Kevin Brown won seven in a row from May 14-June 17, 2003.
Meanwhile, Cruz homered for the second consecutive game while going 2 for 4, giving him a .484 on-base percentage and .852 slugging percentage in 31 plate appearances on this roadtrip. He also pushed his 2012 major-league OPS over .800 for the first time since his first week in a Dodger uniform.
It appeared that the Dodgers might have to rely on Cruz’s fifth-inning home run for their entire offense, but Los Angeles tacked on a run in the eighth and three more in the ninth, all of the scoring flowing directly from Heyward losing fly balls in the sun in each inning. Mark Ellis, who earlier in the game stranded five runners on base in two at-bats, took advantage to collect all four RBI, the last three on a bases-clearing double.
Ronald Belisario pitched a perfect eighth while the score was still 2-0, and Scott Elbert returned from the disabled list to finish things off with a spotless ninth.
Heart-of-the-orderers Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier combined went 0 for 13 with a walk. Kemp is hitless in his past 15 at-bats (with two walks).