Runs were at a premium Friday night at Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers were able to push across a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Padres 1-0 in the opener of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. Rafael Furcal, who was in a 2-for-19 slump since returning from the disabled list, delivered a ground ball single through the hole at second base to score pinch runner Trent Oeltjen for the game's only run. Chad Billingsley pitched eight scoreless innings for his eighth win of the season.
The Dodgers didn't put a runner in scoring position until the eighth inning, when A.J. Ellis singled and Jamey Carroll sacrificed Oeltjen to second base. Tony Gwynn Jr. singled to right field with one out, but Oeltjen had to hold up to make sure the ball went through the infield, so he couldn't score.
Billingsley has pitched eight innings in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career. He was shaky at times, walking five (two intentional), but kept inducing ground ball outs to get out of jams, including two inning-ending double plays. "It sounded like talking to A.J. [Ellis] that it was rough early and he kept working through it," manager Don Mattingly said of Billingsley. "Then he settled down and his stuff seemed to get even better. He hung in there and battled, and kept pitching."
The Padres loaded the bases with nobody out off closer Javy Guerra in the ninth inning, with a leadoff double and two hit batters. However, Guerra struck out Kyle Phillips and Will Venable, then got Jason Bartlett to line out to center fielder Matt Kemp to end the game. It was the Dodgers' first save opportunity since June 19.
The Dodgers have shutout consecutive opponents for the second time this season, doing the same June 19 against Houston and June 20 against Detroit. This was the Dodgers' second 1-0 win of the season. Rubby De La Rosa and Aaron Harang face off Saturday afternoon in the second game of the series.
For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.