D-backs' Davis beats Dodgers in last start before surgery for thyroid cancer

PHOENIX (AP) -- Doug Davis dominated on the mound Tuesday night, then looked forward to a far tougher fight.

Pitching two days before his scheduled surgery for thyroid cancer, the Arizona left-hander allowed two runs in six innings, and the Diamondbacks went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-5 for their fifth consecutive victory.

Davis blanked the Dodgers through five innings before Jeff Kent doubled in two runs in the sixth. He struck out the next two batters, then got Gary Bennett to ground out to get out of the jam.

He left to a standing ovation, tipping his hat to the crowd, then coming out of the dugout for a curtain call as the ovation continued.

"I just felt like I wanted to go out there and do well because I'm going to have a month off," Davis said. "I leave on a good note, that was the key. A quality start, that's what I take the most pride in. It was definitely emotional coming off the field, for sure."

He stayed in the dugout with his teammates to watch the rest of the game.

"Pretty heroic really," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said of Davis' performance. "I think he was a little more emotional today going into that game. It looked like he was a little more focused today. He knew this was going to be the last one for him, and he wanted to win bad, pretty impressive."

Davis (1-1), a .070 career hitter, even singled twice, one them bringing in a run for his seventh RBI. He also picked off a runner at first.

Arizona's Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer off Chad Billingsley in the first inning, his fourth home run in three games. Conor Jackson tripled with the bases loaded to blow the game open in the four-run seventh.

Davis had insisted on making his two scheduled starts before the operation on Thursday to remove his thyroid gland. He is optimistic about his recovery, saying he expects to be sidelined only four to six weeks.

"I'm going to try to pick up a ball three to four days afterward just to play catch," Davis said. "I don't know how much strength I'm going to have. We'll see how I feel."

He's targeted his return for the team's trip to Chicago May 9-11.

His mother fully recovered from the same surgery.

"It's 97 percent recovery," Davis said. "I'm a big numbers guy in baseball and that's a big number in my life, too."

As Davis left the field, Kent told him "best of luck to you and God bless."

He heard similar comments of support from Los Angeles catcher Gary Bennett and all four umpires. That adds to the many e-mails, cards and letters of support he's gotten from fans.

"A lot of experiences of having thyroid cancer and being a survivor of it," Davis said, "even one from a 94-year-old woman that said she had it. She's 94 and healthy as ever."

Davis, who informed manager Bob Melvin of his cancer on March 27, allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked two. He threw 103 pitches, 62 strikes.

Billingsley (0-1) struggled with his control and lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on five hits. He struck out one, walked three and hit two batters.

"I didn't have pretty much anything," Billingsley said. "Obviously, I was struggling with my command. It was one of those days when nothing was there."

Billingsley retired the first two batters in the opening inning, but Orlando Hudson bounced a line drive over the wall in left-center for a ground-rule double, then Jackson was hit by a pitch.

That brought up Reynolds, who lined a 3-2 fastball onto the porch in left center, a 428-foot shot that made it 3-0. Reynolds homered twice, including a 455-footer, in Arizona's 9-3 victory over Los Angeles Monday night in the Diamondbacks' home opener.

Reynolds leads the majors with 12 RBIs.

Arizona scored two more and ended Billingsley's night in the third. Justin Upton's bases-loaded sacrifice fly brought in one run, then Davis singled in another.

Matt Kemp, 3-for-4 on the night, tripled to lead off the Dodgers' sixth, then Andre Ethier walked. Kent brought both of them home, but was stranded when Davis fanned James Loney and Andruw Jones, and Bennett bounced out to third.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre called it "a horrible night."

"It was one we need to get out of our system quick," he said.

Game notes
Arizona tied a franchise record with four hit batters -- Jackson was hit twice and Chris Snyder twice. ... Bennett started at catcher in his first appearance of the season. ... After signing a six-year, $28 million contract extension earlier in the day, Arizona's Chris Young 0-for-6.