Josh Beckett was electric in his home Dodger Stadium debut, and Andre Ethier hit a tie-breaking home run as the Dodgers finally got a win over the Diamondbacks 2-1 at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak by the Dodgers against Arizona this season.
Beckett pitched into the seventh inning and allowed just one run on six hits, and he struck out nine. The strikeouts matched a season-high total for Beckett, set on May 15 against the Mariners.
Hanley Ramirez got the party started in the second inning with a home run to center field. It was his 23rd home run on the season and his ninth in just 36 games since joining the Dodgers. Since the July 25 trade that brought Ramirez to the Dodgers, has more home runs than the next two on the list, Ethier and A.J. Ellis both with four.
Justin Upton responded in the third inning by crushing a ball into oblivion, a home run over the hedges in the Dodgers bullpen in left field that was shocking for two reasons. First, it was just the 12th home run of the season for Upton, a shockingly low total 134 games into the season. Secondly, the home run was estimated by the Dodgers to travel 432 feet, though ESPN Stats & Info chimed in with an estimate of 447 feet. Both seemed a woefully short distance. But then again, maybe I have no depth perception.
When Beckett exited the game in the seventh, there was a runner on first base and two out with Jason Kubel at the plate. Unlike when Kubel hit a leadoff home run in the 11th inning against Matt Guerrier on Friday night, this was the situation manager Don Mattingly envisioned for left-handed relief pitcher Randy Choate, especially with another left-hander in Gerardo Parra on deck. But Choate only needed to face one batter, as he induced a ground out to second base to hold the lead.
Jamey Wright protected a one-run lead in the eighth by retiring all three hitters he faced. The Dodgers tried to add an insurance run in the bottom of the inning as Shane Victorino got to third base with nobody out. But a shallow fly out to left field by Adrian Gonzalez was followed by a medium fly ball to right field by Matt Kemp. Victorino tested the arm of Justin Upton, who threw home in time to retire Victorino, who barreled into Miguel Montero to no avail.
Brandon League pitched the ninth, in his first save opportunity since joining the Dodgers, and after giving up a leadoff single he retired the next three hitters. League in his last seven games has allowed two hits, three walks, and no runs in seven innings, with 11 strikeouts.
Chris Capuano starts the series finale for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon as they go for a split, facing Wade Miley for the Diamondbacks in a battle of left-handers.
Home Runs: Hanley Ramirez (23), Andre Ethier (15); Justin Upton (12)
WP - Josh Beckett (6-12): 6 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP - Matt Albers (0-1): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Brandon League (10): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts