Dodgers don't find groove until late in loss to Fish
Beckett unravels in seventh; LA shut out on three hits before eighth
MIAMI -- The Dodgers played most of Friday night like a team that needed rest, stirring too little and too late in a 6-3 loss to the Marlins.
Thursday's doubleheader sweep in Minnesota took its toll, as did the 2:30 a.m. flight that had the team checking into its hotel at 7 a.m. ET, 12 hours before first pitch.
Manager Don Mattingly canceled batting practice and the Dodgers' bats took most of the game off, too, against Marlins starter Tom Koehler. Four of their seven hits came after the seventh inning. Dee Gordon had three hits and also stole his 16th base.
The Dodgers didn't execute well enough on defense and reliever Jose Dominguez, called up before the game for the fourth time this year already, couldn't put down a four-run seventh inning that ultimately decided it. After falling behind 6-0, the Dodgers scored their runs in the final two innings.
Mattingly wouldn't use the challenging travel as an excuse.
"I think their guy [Koehler] was good, and our guys were ready to play," he said.
One guy who was sent ahead to get a decent night's sleep was starting pitcher Josh Beckett, who hung in there, as he has so far this year. With Clayton Kershaw having already spent five weeks on the disabled list, with Hyun-Jin Ryu just joining him, with Chad Billingsley suffering a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, who expected to get solid start after solid start from Josh Beckett, coming off surgery for career-threatening thoracic outlet syndrome?
"So far, I'd have to say he's been better than I thought," Mattingly said. "He's made a quick change using breaking balls and splitters to both sides and changing speeds. To me, his stuff is plenty good enough to win. He can throw three breaking balls, then a fastball right by the guy. He's been more durable than I thought he was going to be."
Beckett, who 11 years earlier won the World Series with the Marlins, couldn't win this game against them, but the righty was solid for six innings before the game unraveled in the seventh.
"It would have been nice to go deeper," said Beckett. "I watched both games last night and felt bad. I was the only one that got some sleep last night. They played really hard behind me. It was not the perfect situation for them."
Beckett finished with 6 2/3 innings and eight strikeouts, but he allowed a home run to former Boston teammate Jarrod Saltalamacchia and three doubles to Garrett Jones.
"I've played with him for a long time, and sometimes you get into patterns, but I didn't in that deal," Beckett said of Saltalamacchia. "Started with a curveball, then a fastball in and he got good wood on it.
"I feel I'm throwing a lot of curveballs, getting to the point where it's 30 or 40 percent breaking balls. That's where I'm at in my career."
Beckett was coming off an eight-inning start against Colorado in which his only two mistakes were second-inning home runs by Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson.
The Marlins got him in the second inning, too, on Saltalamacchia's solo homer to right field. Saltalamacchia, celebrating his 29th birthday, also scored Miami's second run in the fourth inning after his two-out single. Jones sent a liner sailing over the head of right fielder Yasiel Puig, who reached up and goal-tended the ball with his glove.
Puig retrieved the ball and fired into second base, too late to get Jones, the trail runner. When lead runner Saltalamacchia saw Puig's throw go to second base instead of the cutoff man, he sprinted home. Hanley Ramirez hesitated just long enough for his throw to the plate to arrive with the runner, but the ball was dislodged from catcher Miguel Olivo on the tag.
Mattingly said the throw should have come home -- initially by Puig -- and when that didn't happen, by Ramirez quicker than it did.
Jones led off the seventh inning with his third double, and with two out, he was singled home by pinch-hitter Reed Johnson, a former Dodger, chasing Beckett.
Dominguez took over for Beckett with two out, and the next five batters reached base. First, a booming RBI triple by Christian Yelich. Then Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch on the foot and Giancarlo Stanton singled off Ramirez's glove to score Yelich. Casey McGehee popped a ball that dropped into the Bermuda Triangle in shallow right as Dietrich scored to make it a four-run inning.
Saltalamacchia also helped keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard in the first inning when Gordon, after reaching on an infield single, appeared to have stolen second base. Marlins manager Mike Redmond won a replay challenge, the call was overturned and Gordon was ruled out. Puig then walked and stole second, and Adrian Gonzalez was hit by a pitch with two outs before Andre Ethier grounded out.
"They had situations where they had guys in scoring position, but we were able to make pitches and get out of it," said Saltalamacchia.
The Dodgers finally got in the game in the eighth inning off former Dodgers reliever Carlos Marmol on a walk to Justin Turner, an RBI single by Gordon and another RBI single by Puig, who then turned the game upside down with more baserunning entertainment.
First, Puig tried to steal second base with a slide so awkward it fooled umpire CB Bucknor, who called him out, only for the call to be overturned on a successful replay challenge by Mattingly. But when Ramirez followed with a check-swing bouncer back to Marmol, Puig took off for third base and was thrown out by the pitcher, the Dodgers still down by four runs.
While Puig didn't earn any points getting erased at third down four runs, Mattingly was at a real loss trying to figure why Marmol would be throwing to third up four runs.
"I would have gone too, just figuring they're getting the out at first," Mattingly said. "Why would he even throw?"
Olivo tripled in the ninth and scored on Carl Crawford's groundout for the final run.