The hits were there -- nine off Brewers starter Zack Greinke and 13 total -- but the team stranded runners in scoring position in five innings.
A prime example of the Dodgers' struggles to deliver the big hit came in the ninth after a pair of leadoff singles by Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Elian Herrera put L.A. in a favorable situation well after many of the 26,773 fans had already left the stadium. But an A.J. Ellis double play -- the team's seventh in two games -- crushed a chance at a rally. Pinch-hitter James Loney drove home De Jesus from third, but the game was over one pitch later on a weak Andre Ethier groundout.
A similar situation came in the seventh after Herrera walked and Ellis singled to lead off the inning. But Bobby Abreu hit into a double play -- his third in two games -- and Ethier flied out to cut the inning short.
"With Matt going down yesterday, that took the air out of us during that game," Mattingly said. "Today, I thought it was good. It doesn't look good when you don't get that big hit."
Los Angeles, which had only lost five times at home before the series began, only scored eight runs in four straight losses.
"We played four great games," Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke said. "We had great pitching, great starting pitching and timely hitting. We did a great job battling Billingsley tonight. It should give us a lot [of confidence], four games against these guys. We had to play four great games to beat them."
The Dodgers dug themselves into the early three-run deficit after Billingsley gave up a pair of runs in both the second and third innings.
Aramis Ramirez walked and Taylor Green doubled to lead off the second, and a Rickie Weeks single and Martin Maldonado groundout brought both guys home.
Billingsley ran into more trouble the following inning after Ramirez sent an 0-2 pitch with one on into the left-field stands.
"I missed the spot trying to go cutter in on Aramis, and it just came back through the middle of the plate," said Billingsley. "It was a mistake."
The righty did his best to help his cause on offense with a pair of hits, the first coming in the bottom of the second on an RBI single past a diving Weeks at second base to score Adam Kennedy. The Dodgers loaded the bases against Greinke in the inning, but Ellis was called out on strikes to end the threat.
Thursday's loss was Billingsley's third in May and he hasn't won since defeating San Diego and Pittsburgh in his first two starts this season.
"[Billingsley] has kept us close enough that if we go out and get a bunch of runs for him, then we'll have a chance to win a game," Mattingly said. "We're going to win or we're going to lose together. We can't sit here and say what does Chad need to do. It's what we all need to do."
Alex Castellanos, who was activated to replace Kemp, made his first career appearance in the eighth as a defensive replacement in left field. He was welcomed to the big leagues with a 91-mph Kameron Loe fastball to the elbow in his first plate appearance.
After losing four straight at home, the Dodgers now hit the road to play 10 games in as many days against the Rockies, Phillies and Mariners.