Baseball / Sports

Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich is tagged out at second base by Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, after trying to steal in the first inning at Marlins Park in Miami, Friday, May 2, 2014. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

Dodgers fall to Marlins

MIAMI -- And the Dodgers thought their travel challenges were over after they got back from Australia.

A long day and a late finish in Minnesota on Thursday night left the Dodgers looking listless for much of the night in a 6-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday night.

After playing three games in approximately 28 hours, including a 12-inning nightcap to their doubleheader in Minnesota, the Dodgers didn't get airborne for Miami until 2:30 a.m. and arrived at their hotel here just before 7 a.m.

The most refreshed Dodger on the field Friday was starter Josh Beckett, who traveled ahead of the team and followed Thursday's doubleheader online.

"I felt bad -- I was pretty much the only one who got any sleep last night," Beckett said. "A doubleheader, a 51/2 hour game -- five hours, 11 minutes that's what the second game was. It wasn't an ideal situation."

Beckett did what he could and held his own for six innings against a Marlins team that, surprisingly has both the best home record in baseball (12-4) and most potent offense at home (an major-league-high 105 runs at Marlins Park).

He allowed just single runs in the second (a solo home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and fourth innings (an RBI double by Garrett Jones over Yasiel Puig's head in right field).

But the Dodgers were shut out on three hits through seven innings by Marlins starter Tom Koehler. Two of those three hits were infield hits, and when the Dodgers did get a runner to second base he stayed there. They were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position against Koehler.

"I don't know. I thought their guy was good tonight," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said when asked if the overnight travel was the reason for the punchless attack against Koehler -- who has allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings at Marlins Park this season.

"I thought our guys were ready to play. ... I thought our at-bats were good. For the most part, I thought we got in good counts. They weren't just throwaway at-bats. Their guy was good. He had a good breaking ball tonight. He's got good stuff. I felt we were ready to play tonight. We just weren't able to get over that edge with him."

The Marlins pushed Beckett over the edge in the seventh inning, batting around and scoring four times against Beckett and reliever Jose Dominguez on an assortment of hits that made the Dodgers' defense look a step slow. Christian Yelich tripled over Carl Crawford's head in left field. A run scored when Hanley Ramirez couldn't make a play on Giancarlo Stanton's ground ball behind second base. Another scored when a pop up fell between Puig, Dee Gordon and Adrian Gonzalez in shallow right field.

Beckett left after 6 2/3 innings and a post-surgery high 113 pitches. Over his past four starts, Beckett has allowed just six runs on 15 hits while striking out 25 in 24 2/3 innings (a 2.19 ERA) -- but still hasn't earned a win since Sept. 30, 2012.

"I think we weren't quite sure what we were going to get after that surgery because there's been so few of them," Mattingly said of Beckett's surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome. "I'd say he's been better than I thought. He's made a quick change, for me, trying to use his breaking ball and splitter -- or changeup whatever he wants to call it -- and use both sides of the plate. He's changing speeds a lot more.

"For me, Josh's stuff is plenty good enough. We've seen plenty of guys win with stuff not as good as that. ... I think he's been very good and I think he's been more durable than we thought he was going to be."

The Dodgers' offense woke up long enough to score twice in the eighth on back-to-back RBI singles by Gordon and Puig. Puig stole second on a play overturned by replay (Mattingly's fourth successful challenge in the past six games). But the potential for a bigger inning was short-circuited when Puig was thrown out trying to advance to third on a ground ball to the right of the pitcher's mound.

"I feel like I would have run there," Mattingly said, refusing to criticize Puig's baserunning because he was "shocked" that Marlins pitcher Carlos Marmol threw to third.

"That's like one of those three-point shots where you (if you're the Marlins) go, 'No, no, no! Don't do it. ... Great shot.'"

RYU ON DISABLED LIST

Coincidence or not, the two pitchers who started the Dodgers' early games in Australia are on the disabled list.

Clayton Kershaw is expected back this week from his strained teres major injury. But left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu went on the DL on Friday because of shoulder inflammation.

"I'm not sure. I can't say that was the reason," Ryu said through his interpreter. "It seems to be a coincidence to me. Injuries happen all the time. We're all responsible for our own bodies."

Ryu's injury comes after he has already made seven starts (tied for the most in the majors), including March 23 in Australia, and thrown 39 innings. He said his shoulder began bothering him during his most recent start, Sunday against the Colorado Rockies. Ryu's velocity was noticeably down in that start, topping out at 87 mph as he allowed six runs in five-plus innings and took the loss.

"I definitely don't want to make excuses," Ryu said. "But I definitely noticed it during the game. ... I think because it (his shoulder) was bothering me, I wasn't able to pitch 100 percent, for sure."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the team was not "truly alarmed" with the shoulder issue and it wasn't significant enough for Ryu to get an MRI or receive an injection of cortisone. In fact, Mattingly said Ryu would not have gone on the DL if the Dodgers' game in Minnesota had not been rained out Tuesday, compacting the rotation in the following days.

"We could have skipped him all the way until next Friday," Mattingly said.

Ryu said he experienced a similar shoulder issue in Korea in 2011 and "I rested about 10 days and that took care of it."

In the short term, the Dodgers will need another spot starter Sunday. Matt Magill pitched into the seventh inning for Albuquerque Thursday and Zach Lee went five Friday, leaving Stephen Fife as the most likely candidate. Fife is 1-2 with a 7.08 ERA and threw just one inning in relief Wednesday. In his most recent start, he went six scoreless innings Saturday.

Right-hander Red Patterson filled the spot-starter role in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader and was returned to Triple-A Albuquerque as part of a flurry of roster moves Friday.

The Dodgers also returned left-hander Paco Rodriguez to Triple-A and recalled infielder Chone Figgins and right-hander Jose Dominguez. Figgins returns the Dodgers to a five-man bench for the first time since he was sent down April 21.

"We felt like on the other side of Minnesota (where the DH was used), getting back into the National League game we wanted to be back at full strength with our position players," Mattingly said.

Figgins started at third base Friday, giving Juan Uribe the night off.

NEW PLAN

On Thursday in Minnesota, Mattingly said Kershaw would likely return to the rotation Monday in Washington, giving Zack Greinke an extra day before his next start Tuesday.

On Friday in Miami, though, Mattingly had a different answer. He said Kershaw was now penciled in to start Tuesday, with Greinke staying on his normal rest and pitching Monday. Mattingly explained that Greinke got two extra days off before his Wednesday start because of the "rainout or snow-out or cold-out, whatever you want to call it in Minnesota" and the Dodgers didn't want to make Greinke sit extra between starts again this time.

Kershaw is scheduled to throw a bullpen session before Saturday's game as a final tuneup. The left-hander threw 86 pitches in his second rehab start Thursday and is ready to throw more Tuesday.

"Probably, like, 140. Somewhere around there," he said, joking. "I'm not expecting to have any pitch limits."

Kershaw said his first experience being on the DL was difficult -- and not physically. He said he has not felt any discomfort in his shoulder since a throwing session in Anaheim on March 29 that prompted the Dodgers to put him on the DL.

"Just watching and wanting to be a part of it is difficult," he said. "Our starters did a great job but you want to be a part of that."

PUIG VISIT

Yasiel Puig's second visit to his adopted hometown of Miami had a much different feel than last year's series with the Marlins.

During that August visit as a rookie, Puig adopted a combative tone with media during a news conference held primarily for the Cuban reporters in Miami. He arrived late for one game and was benched by Mattingly and had another controversy briefly flare up over remarks allegedly overheard by a local radio reporter.

This time, Puig entertained Spanish-speaking reporters in front of his locker, adopting a playful mood -- something that has become more common in his dealings with the media since the details of his escape from Cuba were publicized in two magazine articles last month.

"I'm not thinking about that at all," Puig said in Spanish when asked about the revelations in those articles. "No, I don't feel any sort of way about that. I'm at ease."

He joked with reporters when they asked him about playing in front of a large number of Cuban fans in Miami.

"Yes, there's a lot of Cubans here," he said. "But in L.A., we have a bigger stadium with more people. I actually feel like I'm playing in a video game there."

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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DODGERS


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