"It wasn't a negative," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said of Billingsley's first start in three weeks, which snapped his five-game losing streak. "If anything, it was a positive to build off. He prides himself on taking the ball, and you've got to respect that. But nobody is 100 percent, and maybe the time off did his arm some good."
Billingsley, who skipped a start after experiencing elbow inflammation, went six innings and allowed one run on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in the Dodgers' 5-3 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Honeycutt praised the right-hander's ability to throw a two-seam fastball to left-handed hitters.
"That's a ball he's been working on," Honeycutt said. "It's a key for him. If anything, the fastball last night wasn't his best; maybe that was a bit of rust. But he was sharp with breaking balls and had a great changeup.
"We have seen total domination for four or five innings, and then maybe it's the inflammation and they get to him, but not last night. I'm very happy for him and the club. Last night was a very positive sign and I hope it gets him off to a nice roll."