This was only one game against one of the worst teams in baseball.

But the Dodgers' 6-0 victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Friday night was the kind of game that offered hope that this year won't be like last.

Resident underachiever Chad Billingsley looked like the dominant mound presence he once appeared destined to become, striking out 11 over 81/3 scoreless innings.

Andre Ethier, who hasn't hit left-handed pitchers with any kind of consistency in recent seasons, had two extra-base hits and drove in four runs against Padres starter Cory Luebke.

"Both of those guys set the tone for us," Manager Don Mattingly said.

Ethier acknowledged that improving his approach against left-handers was a major focus this spring. Over the last four seasons, left-handers held him to a .221 average.

"We put a lot of effort getting back to staying closed and giving me a better shot to have the right approach and right swing towards lefties," Ethier said.

Ethier, who batted fifth instead of his customary fourth, doubled to right-center in his first at-bat against Luebke, driving in Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera to put the Dodgers ahead, 2-0.