Beckett stays sharp in 6-1 Dodger win

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Beckett stays sharp in 6-1 Dodger win

Josh Beckett has pitched his home games in Los Angeles for almost two years now, and he’d almost forgotten what it was like to sit through a rain delay.

The right-hander waited more than two hours to make his start Tuesday night, but once he got on the mound, he was on top of his game. Beckett allowed two hits in six shutout innings, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run single and the Dodgers defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 6-1.

“Sitting around today was tough,’’ the 34-year-old Beckett said. “I’m not 23 anymore. I was ready to go at 7:10. I spent a lot of time in the weight room trying to stay loose. I felt fine.”

Beckett (4-3), who had endured two consecutive 2-1 losses since his no-hitter May 25 in Philadelphia, finished with seven strikeouts and one walk. He also hit a batter.

“Actually, I felt like it was his cleanest game since the no-hitter,’’ said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “The ball was coming out better. He had a better changeup, and he kept the ball down.’’

Beckett echoed Mattingly’s assessment. “I felt like it was a clean outing,’’ he said.

He also enjoyed better support from his offense, which scored more runs in one inning than it had in his previous two starts combined.

Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner led the Los Angeles lineup with two hits apiece. Beckett got into the act with a single of his own for the Dodgers, who have won three straight and four of five.

“Josh’s performance today is what he’s been giving us all year,’’ Ethier said. “We haven’t been producing many runs for him.’’

Mike Leake, reached for a season-high five runs in his previous start Thursday against San Francisco, allowed five more and a season-high nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. Leake (3-6), who lost seven games last season, had seven strikeouts and one walk.

“It was a weird night,’’ said Leake, bothered by a stiff neck in his previous three starts. “I missed some spots. I got some ground balls, but they found holes. I didn’t do my job today.’’

Reds first baseman Joey Votto, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after missing 23 games with a strained quadriceps in his left knee, went 1 for 3 with a single, two strikeouts and a walk.

Ryu Hyun-jin will go for his eighth win of the season against Reds’ ace Johnny Cueto on Wednesday, local time.


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