LOS ANGELES (AP) - Chris Capuano got the start a day earlier than he expected after Chad Billingsley surprised the Dodgers by disclosing a sore elbow that had been bothering him for a couple of weeks.
Capuano had six days off between outings because of the All-Star break, so fatigue wasn't a factor in his 7-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Sunday. The left-hander just kept pitching to contact the way he normally does and let his infielders make the plays. But this time they didn't - committing four errors that were converted into four unearned runs against him.
``You just keep making pitches, no matter what,' said Capuano, who allowed five hits and no earned runs in 6 2-3 innings. ``I wasn't perfect with my execution, but I felt like I made a pretty high percentage of my pitches. I'm frustrated for the team, from a morale standpoint. But you try to put it behind you and come out firing the next time.'
There's no telling when Billingsley will be back on the mound, after an MRI Sunday revealed inflammation in the right-hander's flexor muscle. But the ailment could explain why he is 0-5 with a 6.21 ERA in his last five starts.
``It feels like any another soreness. My arm never feels 100 percent all the time,' said Billingsley, who made at least 30 starts in each of the previous four seasons.
``I've had this for a couple of weeks, but it feels fine once I start throwing. Then it kind of loosens up. I'm trying to be smart, but I always want to go out there every fifth day and never miss a start. I wanted to be out there today - and I thought I could have - but it's more about being cautious and not making it a more serious situation than it is. I'm pretty optimistic it's not too serious.'
Manager Don Mattingly was upset about being one of the last to know about Billingsley's condition.
``We would have liked to have known about this sooner,' he said. ``We could have changed the rotation and protected him that way. But they hold it in, thinking it's going to get better. We've all done it. But (the trainers) can't help you if you don't talk to them.'
Jerry Hairston Jr. gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in the sixth inning. But the third baseman gave it right back with two throwing errors in the seventh after Capuano (9-5) retired the first two batters. Hairston's first miscue came after he fielded Cameron Maybin's grounder. Everth Cabrera followed with a single, and a walk to John Baker loaded the bases.
Yasmani Grandal batted for Padres starter Jason Marquis (2-5), and Hairston backhanded his grounder down the line before his hurried throw sailed past first baseman James Loney as the tying and go-ahead runs scored.
``You hate to see that compound into costing your team the game. But it did,' Hairston said. ``Obviously I would have liked to get a better grip on the ball after popping back up on those plays. But playing third with those guys running down the line, sometimes you don't have that luxury.'
Chris Denorfia greeted Josh Lindblom with an RBI single to make it 4-2, and Chase Headley added his 10th homer leading off the eighth against the right-hander.
The Padres scored two more unearned runs in the ninth after reliever Jamey Wright mishandled Alexi Amarista's sacrifice bunt for the Dodgers' season-high fifth error. Mark Kotsay, who led off with a double, scored on Carlos Quentin's sacrifice fly and Yonder Alonso followed with an RBI single.
``We did take advantage of a few things, which was good to see, but we also had some good at_bats,' Padres manager Bud Black said. ``A couple of big hits got us started, and then we capitalized on a couple of their mistakes and we kept adding on. A lot of guys contributed and it was a good team win.'
Marquis, who was battling stomach flu the entire game, allowed two runs and six hits over six innings.
Andre Ethier, who homered and drove in four runs on Saturday night in the Dodgers' 7-6 loss, gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead against Marquis with a run-scoring single in the first. It increased his team-high RBI total to 60 in 78 games - just two fewer than he had in 135 games last season, when he missed the final 20 contests because of a knee injury that required surgery.
NOTES: The Padres took two of three from the Dodgers after getting swept in each of their last three three-game series at Chavez Ravine. ... Dodgers CF Matt Kemp, who was 5 for 9 in his first two games off the disabled list, got the day off. ... With SS Dee Gordon on the disabled list, Mattingly gave slumping 3B Juan Uribe his first start at short since May 4 of last season. ... Black inserted Denorfia and Logan Forsythe at the top of his lineup card after Mattingly informed him of the change in starting pitchers. ... Ethier came in 1 for 21 against Marquis, but started his third straight game since coming off the DL and was 2 for 4 - including an infield single in the third.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved