Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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Beckett, Dodgers shut down Reds

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[June 11, 2014]  CINCINNATI -- Rain delays are rare in Los Angeles, and by the time Dodgers right-hander Josh Beckett learned that Tuesday night's game was going to be delayed by rain, his pregame preparations already were well underway.

"I was just sitting around trying to stay loose, and I'm not 23 anymore," Beckett said. "I was ready for a 7:10 game. It's been awhile since I've been through one of those."

Beckett recovered from the 2 hour, 5 minute delay and delivered what Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called his cleanest performance since his May 25 no-hitter, throwing six shutout innings in a 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds at soggy Great American Ball Park.

Beckett (4-3) allowed two hits while walking one and striking out seven over 90 pitches.

"The ball came out better, he had a better changeup," Mattingly said. "The long delay, he was pacing around for two hours. His last two innings the ball started to get up and he wasn't as sharp. He was out of gas there."

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles to pace the Dodgers' 12-hit outburst. "His at-bats looked better," said Mattingly. "Looked like he had some bat speed. Looked like the old Adrian."

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez had a two-run single and right fielder Yasiel Puig had two hits and reached base for the 40th straight game for the Dodgers (35-31), who improved to 24-16 all-time at Great American Ball Park.

"The pitching's been there for us the whole time", said center fielder Andre Ethier, who went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. "Josh's performance tonight is a perfect example of what they've given us. It's nice to score some runs to make those efforts worthwhile."

Right-hander Mike Leake (3-6) allowed five earned runs and a season-high nine hits, while walking one and striking out seven. After pitching into the seventh inning in his first nine starts, Leake failed to escape the fifth inning for the second straight outing.

"It was a weird night," Leake said. "I missed some spots. I got some ground balls but they found holes. I didn't do my job today. It's getting to the point we have to do better than what we're doing. The type of team we are is yet to be determined."

Shortstop Zack Cozart's RBI single in the seventh drove in the lone run for Cincinnati (29-34), which has dropped four of five against the Dodgers this season.

Leake, who allowed five earned runs in his last start and later complained of neck stiffness, got hit hard again Tuesday.

Gonzalez returned to the Dodgers lineup after a day off and promptly doubled and scored when Ethier, who was batting .417 against Leake, doubled to make the score 1-0 in the second.

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Ramirez's two-run single highlighted a three-run fifth inning for Los Angeles, making the score 4-0.

Beckett, making his first road start since throwing the no-hitter at Philadelphia on May 25, retired the first eight batters he faced Tuesday, three via strikeout.

"It's a game of frustration," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "We know that. We're frustrated right now but there is no loss in belief of what we have here or our roster. Just because we haven't done what we're capable of doing."

NOTES: The rain delay was the 10th this season at Great American Ball Park involving eight games. ... The Reds got a brief scare in the fifth inning when SS Zack Cozart was struck in the helmet by an 84-mph pitch from RHP Josh Beckett. Cozart was tended to by the training staff before trotting to first base. "You'd like to say it doesn't bother you, but it does. That's a bad feeling," Beckett said. "I was worried. I tried to give him a little extra time at first base." ... Reds 1B Joey Votto, out since May 21 with a strained quadriceps in his left knee, returned from a rehab assignment and was activated from the disabled list. "I wouldn't come back unless I felt like I could play to my high standard," Votto said. "I'm optimistic, hopeful that (the knee) will be cooperative and I'll be able to play and make progress and continue to make improvements during the season." ... To make room for Votto on the roster, 1B Donald Lutz was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. ... Dodgers 2B Dee Gordon returned to the starting lineup Tuesday for the first time since leaving Saturday's game with a hip injury. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos, who has been on the DL since undergoing offseason elbow and knee surgery, is expected to be reinstated during the weekend series at Milwaukee. ... Reds C Devin Mesoraco snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a single in the eighth inning.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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