Dan Haren continued his downward spiral, allowing a pair of home runs on Tuesday night in the Dodgers' 4-1 loss to the White Sox at Dodger Stadium. Not that the Dodgers offense was any help either.
Haren after his last start expressed displeasure with his performance of late, how his month of May was makedly worse than his stellar April. But though the calendar turned to June, Haren't month of meh continued on Tuesday night.
Gordon Beckham nearly hit a home run off the top of the wall in left field with one out in the first, but settled for a double. Jose Abreu, who homered in his first game off the disabled list on Monday night, did so again on Tuesday, lining a ball over the short wall in left field for a quick 2-0 Chicago lead.
Abreu drove in another run on a force out in the third inning, then one inning later Tyler Flowers took Haren deep for a 4-1 White Sox lead. Haren has allowed eight home runs in his last five starts, and has four home runs allowed and four strikeouts in his last two outings combined.
In those last five starts, Haren's strikeout rate is just 12.4 percent, compared to 19.5 percent in his first seven starts with only two home runs allowed.
Haren did manage to last six innings yet again, the ninth straight time he has recorded at least 18 outs in a start. But he has also allowed no fewer than three runs in 10 straight starts, dating back to April 8.
Not that pitcher wins are always an accurate measure of performance, but Hector Noesi hadn't won since June 6, 2012 - "Not since the invention of fire. Or at least it seems like it," joked Vin Scully on the SportsNet LA television broadcast.
Noesi had pitched in 40 games since that last victory and put up a 5.87 ERA while watching his teams lose 31 of those 40 games, including 0-12 with a 5.42 ERA with 20 home runs allowed in 106⅓ innings in 19 starts. But that all changed for Noesi against the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
The Dodgers put multiple runners on base in the first and fourth innings but didn't score. They loaded the bases with one out in the second inning and settled for a one, on a fly ball from Dee Gordon for a sacrifice fly.
They put a single runner on base against Noesi in both the fifth and sixth innings, but he left them stranded. Noesi finished with six strikeouts and four walks in his six innings, allowing just one run on five hits. He picked up that elusive first victory nearly two years to the day after his last win.
On the exact one-year anniversary of his major league debut, Yasiel Puig doubled, singled and walked in five plate appearances, starting a new streak one game after his 33-game on-base streak was snapped. Puig's walk came in the seventh inning, one of two walks by reliever Jake Petricka with two outs and the Dodgers down 4-1.
But then Zack Putnam was brought in to restore order and got Adrian Gonzalez, representing the tying run at the plate, to fly out to center field to end the threat. The Dodgers put two more runners on with two outs in the eighth inning, but Putnam induced another fly ball to center, this time from Gordon.
Ronald Belisario saved four games in four seasons with the Dodgers, but never got a save at Dodger Stadium until Tuesday night. Belisario retired Andre Ethier, Puig and Ramirez in order on seven pitches, all on ground balls to second base, for his fourth save of the season.
The Dodgers put 13 runners on base with six hits and seven walks, but were able to plate only one run.
The Dodgers sent Josh Beckett to the mound in the series finale on Wednesday night, with lefty John Danks starting for Chicago.
Home runs: Jose Abreu (17), Tyler Flowers (5)
Stolen base: Alexei Ramirez (12)
WP - Hector Noesi (1-3): 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Dan Haren (5-4): 6 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Ronald Belisario (4): 3 up, 3 down