"I thought he was OK, he seemed really good then they got on him a bit," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "They have a good club. I'm going to give them credit all the time, but you have to make pitches and execute."
The defeat gave Billingsley a loss for the fifth consecutive start, a first in the 27-year-old's six-year career. The setback came a day after the D-backs knocked Clayton Kershaw out with a five-run sixth inning.
"I try to win every game and leave the game with the team having a chance, can't do anything about the outcome," Billingsley said. "I kept battling and trying to execute. I had pretty good fastball command, slider was good. It was just one of those things you can't do anything about."
Billingsley was charged with four runs over his six innings, giving up six hits and striking out five. His second punchout of the game in the third inning gave him 1,000 for his career, making him the 12th Dodgers pitcher to accomplish the feat.
Saturday was Billingsley's third straight start in which he has pitched six innings and given up four runs or fewer.
"It's what we've kind of seen," Mattingly said. "It's not like he's pitching terrible, it seems like it's always just OK."
A bright spot for Billingsley's outing was that he didn't walk anybody for the second consecutive start. Overall, with the season past the mathematical halfway mark, the righty has walked just 34 batters; he walked 84 last season.
"I've improved this year with attacking batters," he said. "I definitely wanted to work on my command and be more aggressive in the strike zone."
In his first start since Monday, when he sprained his ankle, Juan Uribe went 0-for-3, extending his hitless streak to 27 at-bats. Meanwhile, all of the Dodgers' offense came via the long ball with Jerry Hairston connecting for a two-run homer in the first and A.J. Ellis knocking out a shot in the seventh.
"We were able to get a couple," Mattingly said. "Usually when you get [D-backs starter Trevor Cahill] early, you can count on him settling in, though. But you have to scratch out more. [Billingsley] gave us an opportunity to stay in the game."
Cahill earned his first win since June 20 by limiting the Dodgers to the three runs in seven innings. The sinkerballer got nine batters to ground out on the night.
"He seemed pretty good, I hadn't seen a lot of him," Mattingly said. "Our at-bats were OK, but he looked sharp at times. He's got good sink, he's always going to have good movement. It's a matter if he's going to get his off-speed stuff over that changes the look you have with him."
Leading, 2-0, in the bottom of the fifth, Billingsley served up three hits in the inning, highlighted by a Gerardo Parra two-run double to tie the score. Later in the frame, Stephen Drew gave the D-backs their first lead with a sacrifice fly to left to score Parra.
One inning later, Justin Upton led off with a double and then came around to score two batters later on a Paul Goldschmidt sacrifice fly in Billingsley's final inning.
"The first couple of times through the order he pretty much shut us down, and then we got some things going," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We beat another good pitcher tonight, a good team."
Jason Kubel added a home run in the eighth off Dodgers reliever Josh Lindblom for an insurance run.