Billingsley helps Dodgers blank Padres, avoid sweep

Unsung heroes: Rafael Furcal and Matt Kemp each homered to help the Dodgers' cause.

Turning point: Consecutive RBI singles by Furcal, Juan Pierre and Russell Martin in the third gave the Dodgers an early 3-0 advantage.

Figure this: Sunday's game marked the Dodgers' second shutout of the Padres this year.

Quotable: "Today was too much Billingsley. His ability to throw strikes and move the ball around was impressive." -- Padres manager Bud Black

-- ESPN.com news services

Final score Dodgers 5, Padres 0

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chad Billingsley has this starting pitcher thing down.

Billingsley tossed three-hit ball for seven innings, Matt Kemp and Rafael Furcal homered, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 5-0 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

"Today was too much Billingsley," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "His ability to throw strikes and move the ball around was impressive."

Billingsley (5-0) won for the first time as a starter this season, matching a career high by striking out nine in an 88-pitch performance. He did not walk a batter for the first time as a starter and tied the longest outing of his career.

The 22-year-old right-hander's four other wins came out of the bullpen and his two previous starts resulted in no-decisions.

"The first two starts I was just getting used to the whole routine," he said.

Billingsley sizzled in the 85-degree heat, retiring his final 16 batters, including six on strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 3.44.

"I felt just great out there," he said. "I kept pounding the zone with my fastball, I was getting ahead with my cutter and throwing first-pitch strikes. Everything was there and I was putting guys away, which you need to do when you're ahead in the count."

The Dodgers stopped a five-game losing skid to the Padres, who had won four in a row and were seeking a second sweep of their NL West rivals in baseball's tightest division.

"Anytime you lose two games against a team in your own division, you can't let them take that third one," catcher Russell Martin said. "Chad Billingsley pitched outstanding. He was aggressive, threw a lot of strikes and had command of all his pitches."

Justin Germano (5-2) gave up three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, walked three and struck out three.

Billingsley frustrated San Diego's Mike Cameron, who was 1-for-4 after hitting .323 in June.

"He made some good pitches," Cameron said. "A well-located fastball, that's what he had."

The Dodgers took a 3-0 lead in the third on consecutive RBI singles by Furcal, Juan Pierre and Martin, who will make his first All-Star appearance as the NL's starting catcher in the July 10 game at San Francisco.

"Just to be around all those great players, it's definitely going to be a good time," Martin said. "I'll be like a kid in a candy store. The whole organization put a lot of hard work into trying to get me there, and the fans went out and voted for me. It definitely feels good to get recognition for what you're doing on the field."

Kemp singled to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to second by Billingsley before scoring on Furcal's bloop single to center. Furcal stole second and came home on Pierre's single. Martin singled to left to extend his career-high hitting streak to 11 games, and Pierre slid under the tag of catcher Michael Barrett.

With two outs in the fourth, Kemp sent an 0-2 pitch from Germano barely over the right-field wall to make it 4-0.

Furcal's second homer of the season came on the first pitch from Germano in the seventh, extending the lead to 5-0.

Game notes
The Dodgers stole 10 bases in the series, including five by Pierre. ... Besides Martin, Dodgers RHP Brad Penny and closer Takashi Saito were named All-Stars. "Hopefully, the National League will win this year," Penny said. ... San Diego's All-Stars are RHP Jake Peavey and closer Trevor Hoffman. "My selection is representative of a very strong bullpen," Hoffman said. ... The Padres placed OF Milton Bradley on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 21 because of a strained left oblique muscle. They acquired Bradley and cash from Oakland on Friday for RHP Andrew Brown. ... It was the Dodgers' second shutout of the Padres, having beaten them 1-0 on June 5. ... The teams will play their final three-game series Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at San Diego.