Chad Billingsley pitched one of the best games of his six-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing one hit over eight innings. All it got him was another frustrating loss.
A miscommunication on a pickoff throw by Billingsley in the second inning led to the only run for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their 1-0 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday.
Billingsley struck out eight and walked two. It was the fourth time in nine starts that the 26-year-old right-hander pitched at least seven innings, but he is 0-2 in those outings.
"I was just trying to hold them there as long as I can and make pitches," Billingsley said. "You can only control what you control. My main focus was to keep going out there and try to put up zeros."
Josh Collmenter pitched two-hit ball over six innings in his first major league start to get the win and help the Diamondbacks end a five-game skid in which each loss was by a one-run margin.
It was the first time the Dodgers lost when allowing one hit since July 17, 1914, against the Chicago Cubs.
Saturday's bizarre turn of events also bore some eerie similarities to a couple of other historic pitching duels at Chavez Ravine.
On June 28, 2008, the Dodgers beat the Angels and Jered Weaver 1-0 without getting a single hit. On Sept. 9, 1965, Cubs left-hander Bob Hendley pitched a complete-game one-hitter and Sandy Koufax beat him 1-0 with a perfect game.
"It's tough to lose that one," manager Don Mattingly said. "They pitched well, we pitched well. You never think that run would be the difference, but it's always dangerous when you get a guy you haven't seen."
Collmenter (2-0) struck out three, walked none and retired his final 11 batters after giving up Billingsley's one-out double in the third.
"This game sometimes is crazy," said Stephen Drew, whose leadoff double in the second accounted for the Diamondbacks' only hit. "It's a big win for us. The past five days have been kind of frustrating, losing by one each time."
Billingsley (2-3) tried to pick off Drew at second base, but shortstop Jamey Carroll failed to cover the bag with the lefty-swinging Miguel Montero at the plate, and the ball rolled into center as Drew barely beat Matt Kemp's throw to third.
"I saw Billingsley turn around and then saw the ball coming, so I'm just sliding back. Then I looked up, and nobody's there," Drew said. "I never thought that would be our only hit, but it worked out well for us."
Montero walked and Melvin Mora followed with a sacrifice fly, which began a string of 16 consecutive batters retired by Billingsley — none of whom hit a ball out of the infield. But Carroll's mistake ended up costing the hard-luck right-hander.
"Miscommunication. It was my fault," Carroll said. "Obviously, I was supposed to cover. He threw it and nobody was there."
James Loney's two-out single in the second was the only other hit off Collmenter, who made his first seven big league appearances in relief after his promotion on April 15. All but two of his 94 appearances in the minors were in a starting role.
The 25-year-old right-hander was inserted into the Diamondbacks' rotation to replace right-hander Barry Enright, who was demoted to Triple-A Reno on May 5 after going 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA in six starts. Collmenter was selected in the 15th round of the 2007 draft — 13 rounds after Enright.
"Coming up through the minors as a starter, I always dreamed of being a starter in the big leagues. So I was excited to get this opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it when I got out there," Collmenter said. "I was wondering when fatigue would set in, and I definitely started to feel a little in the sixth inning and I was laboring."
Aaron Heilman pitched a perfect seventh inning and David Hernandez worked a scoreless eighth, retiring pinch-hitters Dioner Navarro and Jay Gibbons with a potential tying run at third after giving up a leadoff double by Loney.
J.J. Putz got three outs for his eighth save in as many attempts, getting Kemp to ground to shortstop for the game-ending double play with runners at first and second.
Notes: For a guy who was born in Homer, Mich., and went to Homer High School, Collmenter didn't give up many home runs during his minor league career — only 34 in 515 innings. ... Switch-hitting SS Rafael Furcal, who hasn't played for the Dodgers since he broke his left thumb on a headfirst steal of third base on April 11 at San Francisco, began a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Albuquerque. He will be batting only left-handed for now. ... The victory was the Diamondbacks' 100th against the Dodgers. They've lost 124.