Beckett, balance equal Dodgers' 6-1 win over Reds
CINCINNATI (AP) Josh Beckett has pitched his home games in Los Angeles for almost two years now, and he'd almost forgotten what it was like to sit through a rain delay.
He handled this one with no problem
The right-hander waited more than 2 hours to make his start Tuesday night, but once he got on the mound, he was on top of his game. Beckett allowed two hits in six shutout innings, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run single and the Dodgers defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-1.
''Sitting around today was tough,'' the 34-year-old Beckett said. ''I'm not 23 anymore. I was ready to go at 7:10. I spent a lot of time in the weight room trying to stay loose. I felt fine.''
Beckett (4-3), who had endured two consecutive 2-1 losses since his no-hitter May 25 in Philadelphia, finished with seven strikeouts and one walk. He also hit a batter with a pitch.
''Actually, I felt like it was his cleanest game since the no-hitter,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ''The ball was coming out better. He had a better changeup, and he kept the ball down.''
Beckett echoed Mattingly's assessment.
''I felt like it was a clean outing,'' he said.
He also enjoyed better support from his offense, which scored more runs in one inning than it had in his previous two starts combined.
Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner led the Los Angeles lineup with two hits apiece. Beckett got into the act with a single of his own for the Dodgers, who have won three straight and four of five.
''Josh's performance today is what he's been giving us all year,'' Ethier said. ''We haven't been producing many runs for him.''
Mike Leake, reached for a season-high five runs in his previous start Thursday against San Francisco, allowed five more and a season-high nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. Leake (3-6), who lost seven games last season, had seven strikeouts and one walk.
''It was a weird night,'' said Leake, bothered by a stiff neck in his previous three starts. ''I missed some spots. I got some groundballs, but they found holes. I didn't do my job today.''
Reds first baseman Joey Votto, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after missing 23 games with a strained quadriceps in his left knee, went 1 for 3 with a single, two strikeouts and a walk.
After the start was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 5 minutes, the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second on Gonzalez's leadoff double and Ethier's one-out double.
Beckett helped himself in a three-run fifth after Turner led off with a single. With one out, the pitcher faked a bunt and hit a chopper over charging third baseman Todd Frazier for his third hit in 23 at-bats this season.
''I saw him charging,'' Beckett said. ''He was playing so shallow already. I took a shot.''
Turner scored on Dee Gordon's double, and Ramirez drove in both runners with a single to right field.
That pretty much gave Los Angeles control. The largest deficit overcome by the Reds to win this season is two runs.
Cincinnati manager Bryan Price was impressed with the Dodgers' approach.
''They did a nice job of putting the ball in play,'' Price said. ''They ran some balls through the infield. They had enough team speed to get some good reads off the bat and score off that line drive to right.''
Los Angeles added a run in the sixth on Matt Kemp's one-out walk and back-to-back singles by Ethier and Turner, who has four consecutive multihit games. Puig singled, stole second and scored on Gonzalez's second double in the seventh.
Ethier is hitting .467 (7 for 15) with six RBIs against Leake.
The Reds avoided being shut out on Jay Bruce's leadoff double, Devin Mesoraco's infield single and Zack Cozart's one-out RBI single in the seventh. Mesoraco snapped a career-worst, 0-for-19 slump.
NOTES: Cozart stayed in the game after being hit in the batting helmet by Beckett's pitch in the fifth. ... Ethier's sixth-inning infield single originally was ruled an out, but Mattingly's challenge led to the call being overturned after a replay review. ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu is the Dodgers' scheduled starter Wednesday. The last time he faced the Reds, he carried a perfect game through seven innings before settling for a 4-3 win on May 26 in Los Angeles.