(Sports Network) - In danger of losing a fourth straight game, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in need of a spark. That could come from work-horse Chad Billingsley, who will pitch on three days' rest for the first time in his career this afternoon in the continuation of a three-game series versus the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
With Clayton Kershaw serving a five-game suspension for intentionally hitting San Francisco's Aaron Rowand in a game last week, the Dodgers are in need of a starter for this contest and will go with Billingsley on short rest.
"There's always a little concern because we don't do [short rest] much," LA pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said on his team's website. "I think we only did it with Derek Lowe before. You never really know. But the way he's throwing and his last outing, we're using his judgment."
Billingsley, who turned 26 on Thursday, is 9-5 with a 4.00 earned run average this year and his win over the Giants last week improved him to 5-2 with a 3.22 ERA in his career against them. Both shutouts thrown by Billingsley in his career have come versus San Francisco.
He'll try to right the ship for the Dodgers, who are just 5-10 since the All- Star break after losing last night's opener to the Giants, 6-5. With San Francisco All-Star closer Brian Wilson unavailable due to a back ailment, the Dodgers scored three times in the ninth inning to get within one, but the rally fell short.
Scott Podsednik tripled in a run and scored on a wild pitch in the frame, while Matt Kemp's two-out single to center scored Rafael Furcal. However, Chris Ray got Casey Blake to ground into a fielder's choice to end the game.
"The last inning we're four down and it started from the first swing of the bat," said LA manager Joe Torre on his team's website. "Nobody threw their hands up. At the end we had the tying run at third, the possible winning run at first and an RBI guy at the plate."
Furcal went 3-for-3 with a homer run, two walks and a double for the Dodgers, who remained seven games behind first-place San Diego in the National League West, while the Giants moved within 2 1/2 games of the top spot by winning for the seventh time in nine games.
Aubrey Huff paced San Francisco's offense with three hits, a home run and three RBI, while Ray's save preserved the win for Tim Lincecum, who gave up two early runs over seven innings while striking out nine.
The Giants will try to make it two victories in a row tonight behind Barry Zito, but he has just one win over his last eight starts and will try to avoid a third straight losing start today.
The left-hander yielded two runs over 7 1/3 innings of a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers and Billingsley on July 21, then gave up three runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 frames of a 4-3 defeat to the Marlins on Monday.
Zito, 32, is now 8-6 with a 3.49 ERA this year and his career record versus the Dodgers slipped to an even 6-6 with a 4.01 ERA. He is, however, 6-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 11 home starts this season.
Los Angeles has won six of 10 from the Giants this season.