Chad Billingsley may have come away with nothing for his won-loss record, but his eight-inning performance against the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday was in all likelihood the Dodgers' best pitching performance of 2011.

It had to be, of course, because the Cards' Chris Carpenter was throwing zeroes, too. But Billingsley had the tougher challenge, given the way St. Louis has been hitting the ball this week and especially this series.

"This was as good as I've seen him," said Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot, briefly a Dodger teammate of Billingsley's in the last few months of 2010. "What makes it even more impressive is the fact that we've got some guys who are locked in right now, so it's not like he was catching us at a good time.

"He was cutting it and he was sinking it. He was throwing the cutter in and throwing it away, the sinker in and away. He had a big curve ball, and a slider at 91 miles an hour. I mean, how many starters throw a slider at 91? He got me on it once."

Billingsley's best escape act came in the eighth, after Andre Ethier lost Yadier Molina's popup in the sun for a two-base error. Daniel Descalso bunted Molina to third, but Billingsley struck out pinch hitter John Jay and got Theriot on a line drive to Ethier to end the threat.