ATLANTA — Chad Billingsley was dominant on the mound but overmatched in the dugout.
Billingsley pitched five scoreless innings, Matt Kemp homered and matched a career high with five RBIs and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 9-1 on Sunday night.
Kemp had three hits, including a three-run homer in the fifth and a two-run single in the eighth as the Dodgers outhit the Braves 19-5.
Billingsley (11-6) left with a cramp in his right hamstring. He said he wanted to stay in the game and even put on his batting helmet to hit in the sixth, but manager Joe Torre had other ideas.
“I came in and said I want to go out there again,” Billingsley said, adding Torre “didn’t want to risk it anymore.”
“I didn’t win the battle,” he said.
Billingsley won almost every other matchup. The right-hander gave up only two hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in five innings.
“He was really good,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “He was throwing everything for strikes, it didn’t matter what count it was. He was throwing any pitch he wanted.”
Jair Jurrjens (9-8) gave up four runs on a season-high 10 hits in five innings for Atlanta.
Billingsley’s left knee appeared to buckle as he followed through on a pitch in the fifth inning. “I always do it,” he said. “That’s nothing new.”
The bigger concern to Torre was the hamstring. “I didn’t want him to adjust his windup,” Torre said.
Kemp said he understood Torre’s decision.
“That’s one of our guys, one of our horses,” said Kemp of Billingsley.
Billingsley said he wasn’t worried about the hamstring affecting his status.
“It was just a cramp,” he said.
The NL West-leading Dodgers, who matched their season high with 19 hits, won two of three against the Braves to conclude a 3-4 road trip.
“Three and four doesn’t sound like a good road trip, but when you lost the first three it’s pretty good, especially considering who we had to beat tonight,” Torre said.
The Braves have lost four of their last six.
The Dodgers scored four runs on five straight hits off Jurrjens with two outs in the fifth, ending the scoreless tie.
After leaving a combined five runners on base in the third and fourth innings, Jurrjens’ luck ran out in the fifth.
With two outs, Manny Ramirez and Loney reached on singles. Kemp hit an 0-2 pitch over the 400-foot mark in center field for his 14th homer and a 3-0 lead.
“That was the game. One mistake and it cost us the game,” Jurrjens said.
Russell Martin followed Kemp’s homer with a double off the left-field wall and scored on Mark Loretta’s single up the middle.
Loretta started at third base for Casey Blake, who hurt his left hand in a workout following Saturday’s game. Torre said after the game X-rays on Blake’s hand were negative and he may play Monday against Milwaukee.
Blake’s injury left Torre, who is carrying 13 pitchers, with only three position players on his bench. That shortage of bench players led to the surprising choice of Jason Schmidt, the winning pitcher Friday night, as the pinch-hitter for Billingsley in the sixth.
Schmidt, in his second career appearance as a pinch-hitter, singled to center off Kris Medlen, moved to second on Ethier’s single and scored on Loney’s double to right field.
Kemp’s two-run single was the big hit as the Dodgers padded the lead with three runs in the eighth off Boone Logan. Orlando Hudson added a run-scoring double off Manny Acosta in the ninth.
Ramirez was 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs. He made a tumbling catch of a sinking liner hit by Diory Hernandez in the eighth. A beaming Ramirez, who was booed throughout the series, then tipped his cap to the fans.
Ramirez lifted his cap again when he left the game in a double-switch later in the eighth.
Martin Prado had two hits, including a run-scoring single to drive in the Braves’ only run in the eighth.
NOTES: Schmidt walked in his only previous appearance as a pinch-hitter while with the Braves in 1995. … RHP Cory Wade (strained shoulder) was activated from the Dodgers’ 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. … Braves OF Ryan Church (sore elbow) missed his fourth straight game and SS Yunel Escobar (bruised right wrist) was held out for the third straight game.