The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping a new face can help them end their season-long troubles against the Arizona Diamondbacks as Josh Beckett takes the hill for the third contest of a four-game series.
Acquired in a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox, Beckett made his Dodgers debut on Monday and was decent, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. However, he did allow a homer to the first batter he faced and was on the wrong end of a 10-0 decision.
"I was the second-best pitcher out there," Beckett said.
The 32-year-old righty lost his third straight start overall and fifth decision in a row. He was 5-11 with a 5.23 earned run average in 21 starts with the Red Sox before the deal.
Beckett has faced the Diamondbacks six times in his career, going 1-4 with a 4.91 ERA. He'll try to snap the Dodgers' eight-game slide in this series, a rut that was extended with Friday's 4-3 loss in 11 innings.
Jason Kubel played the hero for the Diamondbacks, connecting on a solo homer in the 11th inning before J.J. Putz stranded two runners in the bottom of the frame for his 28th save.
"It feels good, especially against a good team that we're trying to catch," said Kubel of his homer.
Aaron Hill went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Chris Johnson tripled and had an RBI for the D-backs, who snapped a six-game slide overall with a win in Thursday's opener.
Mark Ellis drove in a pair of runs and Andre Either also knocked in a run for Los Angeles, which has dropped five of six and eight of its last 11 games.
"We gave ourselves a chance but we didn't do enough to win the game," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "We just have to keep working."
The Dodgers did not lose any ground in their playoff chase, remaining 4 1/2 games back of the first-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West and 1 1/2 contests out of a wild card position.
Looking to keep the Dodgers in check again on Saturday is Diamondbacks rookie Tyler Skaggs, who is set for the third start of his career.
The 21-year-old won his MLB debut on Aug. 22 after holding the Miami Marlins to a pair of runs on three hits and five walks over 6 2/3 innings.
He learned some lessons in his most recent outing on Monday, a loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Skaggs was charged with three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings, seeing a run score on his throwing error to first before giving up the winning run on a home run to opposing pitcher Bronson Arroyo.
"(Skaggs) threw great, made a mistake, kind of self inflicted, rushed the ball," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of the error.