LOS ANGELES -- June went from bad to worse very quickly for Chad Billingsley on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
The Reds knocked around the Dodgers starter for seven early runs, and completed a three game sweep of Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory.
It was Billingsley's worst outing in what has become a dreadful month for him, and it dropped the Dodgers to a season-high eight games below .500. In three June starts now, Billingsley hasn't lasted more than five frames, allowing 17 earned runs in 13 2/3 total innings.
Billingsley said he felt that his mechanics were fine on Wednesday, but also felt that he missed his spots. As for what to do now, he said there's only one option.
"You just keep going out there," he said. "You can't sit here and think about it. It's done. You keep battling."
On Wednesday, Billingsley gave up seven runs, nine hits and four walks, while retiring only 11 of the 24 batters he faced in his four innings. And when the Reds hit him -- which was often -- they hit him hard.
For much of the season, the Dodgers have been able to at least keep games close, but the offense didn't help Billingsley much Wednesday. Manager Don Mattingly said that if the team wants to make a push, there is no more room for keeping it close.
"If we don't make a move it's gonna be a long summer for us," Mattingly said. "We're gonna start putting some things together. We can talk all we want about being in games, but at some point we're gonna have to make a move."
As for what a manager can say to Billingsley and some other slumping Dodgers to help turn things around:
"I don't have any magic words for any of us, to be honest with you," Mattingly said. "You gotta get yourself ready to play and ready to pitch, each guy, and just come with the mindset that you're not gonna be denied."
Los Angeles has now lost six of its last eight games, but catcher Rod Barajas said there are enough leaders in the clubhouse to make sure that the players still bring the intensity that Mattingly called for.
"Putting our head down and putting our tail between our legs isn't going to accomplish anything," Barajas said. "We're gonna battle. We're gonna give everything we have and if you don't, there's guys in here that will make sure everybody does."
The Reds jumped out to the lead in the second inning on a pair of RBI doubles from Scott Rolen and Fred Lewis. Then, an inning later, they pounded out five hits and put four runs on the board, increasing the lead to 6-1.
In addition to fastball location, Barajas said that Billingsley's curveball didn't move as much as it usually does, making him very hittable.
"When your two best pitches aren't working the way you'd like them to work, you're gonna struggle," Barajas said. "And that's what we saw."
Barajas noted how tough it is for the team's morale to see the typically-reliable Billingsley struggle.
But both Barajas and center fielder Matt Kemp, who went 2-for-4, said they're confident that Billingsley's struggles won't last long.
"He's an all-star pitcher," Kemp said. "He's gonna bounce back. He has great stuff. I don't know what's wrong right now, but he's gonna bounce back."
At least there was a bright spot on the mound for the Dodgers. After struggling each of the last two nights, the bullpen managed to work five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. But with a dormant Dodger offense, those late innings didn't matter much.
Los Angeles couldn't capitalize on early wildness from Cincinnati's Travis Wood, who allowed only one run in six innings despite walking five. With a runner on second and two outs in the first inning, Wood walked three straight to give the Dodgers their only lead, but he got out of trouble by getting James Loney to line out to right field.
"I was able to settle down," Wood said. "It was a battle all game, though. Fortunately I thought I was able to keep them just enough off balance and keep them from scoring."
As it turned out, that may have been the biggest batter of the game. With Wood on the ropes, Loney hit the ball on the screws, but right at Fred Lewis, and from there it was all Cincinnati.
The Dodgers did have chances, putting two runners on in both the third and fourth innings. But Reds left fielder Jonny Gomes made a pair of diving defensive plays to end both Dodger rallies.
"It really hurts," Mattingly said of Gomes' first grab -- the more difficult of the two. "It kind of puts a little sting into us because if we get two runs we're right back in that game."
"We can't wait," said Kemp of the Dodgers need to make a run. "We gotta do it now. There's no pressure. It just has to happen."
AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.