LOS ANGELES (AP) — Josh Beckett did his best to take some pressure off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ overworked bullpen.
Beckett pitched eight sharp innings Friday night but ended up with his fourth straight no-decision to start the season. Charlie Blackmon hit an RBI single to spark Colorado’s three-run rally in the 11th, and the Rockies held on for a 5-4 victory after Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer off LaTroy Hawkins.
Yasiel Puig also went deep and had an RBI single for the defending NL West champions, who are 1-5 in extra-inning games.
Beckett allowed two runs and four hits with six strikeouts and no walks, after pitching five scoreless innings in each of his previous two starts. He hasn’t won since beating the Rockies on Sept. 30, 2012, at Los Angeles.
“There aren’t very many easy outs in that lineup, but I got some easier outs on some changeups. That was really the key to keeping them off balance,” Beckett said. “They’re a very good hitting team. Most of their guys usually feel pretty good about themselves, and they should.”
Beckett was 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts last season before sitting out the final five months because of a groin strain and a subsequent bout with thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve condition that required surgery in July.
“I think this was a step in the right direction for me, personally,” he said. “I wanted to show myself that I could do some things I haven’t done in a while, like pitching innings. I mean, I haven’t been up and down six times in a game in like 400 days. I don’t know exactly how many. That’s just a guess.”
Adam Ottavino took over in the eighth for Rockies starter Jordan Lyles as a steady drizzle sent many in the crowd of 44,866 for cover. Ottavino retired the side in order before Boone Logan struck out his first two batters in the ninth – including Matt Kemp, who was ejected by umpire Angel Hernandez for arguing a called third strike.
It was Kemp’s seventh career ejection and the Dodgers’ first this season.
The drizzle had turned into a downpour by the 10th. Brandon Barnes pinch-hit for reliever Rex Brothers (2-2) with one out in the 11th and doubled against Jamey Wright (1-1).
Left-hander J.P. Howell entered to face the lefty-swinging Blackmon, who came in leading the majors with a .410 average. The leadoff hitter grounded a 2-2 pitch up the middle to drive in the go-ahead run after going hitless in his four previous at-bats against Beckett.
Nolan Arenado followed with a single that extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games. The Rockies added another run when Gonzalez threw home on a grounder in front of first base by Carlos Gonzalez and was too late to get Blackmon. Justin Morneau capped the rally with an RBI single against Brandon League.
Brothers pitched a hitless inning and Hawkins got his seventh save. He would have had to face Kemp after giving up the home run, but the ejection spared him.
“It’s something that we need to talk about internally, I think,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We were down a guy and had only four (outfielders), so we have to be a little more careful. We’ve got to turn the page, as far as this game, and move forward.”
Lyles allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking one. His only other start against the Dodgers was on Aug. 14, 2011, as a rookie with Houston, when he gave up seven runs and three homers over 5 1-3 innings in a 7-0 loss.
Puig, the second batter Lyles faced, hit the first pitch to center field for his third home run. Ten of Puig’s first 22 big league homers have come on the first pitch.
“I don’t mind when guys swing early, especially since I’m a guy that does a decent job of getting guys to hit the ball on the ground,” Lyles said. “I tried to make a good pitch down and away, but I left it over the plate. He’s a strong guy who can put it into the seats.”
Troy Tulowitzki drove Beckett’s second pitch of the second inning deep into the left-field pavilion for his fifth home run of the season. Two batters later, Corey Dickerson hit a first-pitch homer to left-center. Beckett retired 17 of his next 18 batters.
NOTES: Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (back) threw 56 pitches over five innings in a rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga against Lancaster, allowing a run and two hits with six strikeouts and a walk. The run came on a leadoff homer in the fifth. Every inning was chronicled batter-by-batter by team spokesman Joe Jareck on the press box loud speaker – including Kershaw’s pitch count after each inning (7-20-6-6-17).