Baseball / Sports

Beckett's strong start lifts Dodgers past Diamondbacks

DENVER -- The haves really rubbed it in on the have-nots this weekend.

Josh Beckett's five scoreless innings Sunday set the Los Angeles Dodgers up for an 8-2 win over the pitching-starved Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers took three out of four in the series with their starting pitchers in the three victories allowing just one earned run in 21 innings at notoriously hitter-friendly Coors Field. They left town still sporting the lowest ERA of any starting rotation in baseball (3.03).

At the other end of the spectrum -- way, way at the other end -- the Colorado Rockies have used 13 different starting pitchers to produce the worst ERA in baseball (5.34). Over their past 20 games, their starters' ERA is a miserable 7.58 and their only three wins came in games started by Jorge De La Rosa (who beat the Dodgers Saturday).

There is some vulnerability to the Dodgers' rotation, however. Dan Haren was roughed up for eight runs in Saturday's loss and has a 5.74 ERA over his past 10 starts. Beckett, meanwhile, is dealing with the dreaded "general soreness" – a condition known to most of us as aging.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly admitted Saturday that the days between Beckett's starts recently have been a voyage of discovery, filled with uncertainty over whether Beckett will actually be able to pitch.

Mattingly might have covered his eyes and crossed his fingers during the Dodgers' five-run fifth inning Sunday. Beckett sparked the rally when he dropped a double into the right-field corner (his third double in his past two starts) but then was nearly thrown out at third base on Dee Gordon's single to left field and slid awkwardly into the base.

Beckett retired the Rockies in order in the bottom of the fifth, striking out two. But Mattingly pulled him after five innings and just 82 pitches.

By then, the Dodgers had a 5-0 lead against one of the latest in the Rockies' conga line of starting pitchers, left-hander Yohan Flande. The 28-year-old rookie got the call-up to the majors last month despite a 2-9 record and 4.42 ERA in Triple-A and an undistinguished 10-year minor-league career.

Flande flamed out in the five-run fifth that included Beckett's double, a two-run single by Adrian Gonzalez, an RBI single by Matt Kemp (one of his four hits in the game) and a bases-loaded hit by pitch.

The Rockies' bullpen is cringe-worthy as well and the Dodgers touched it up for three more runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Yasiel Puig, a run-scoring ground out by Gonzalez and another RBI single from Kemp.

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