LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Dodgers’ blockbuster trade that put Josh Beckett in the rotation finally paid its first dividend.
Beckett pitched 6 2-3 strong innings for his first win since being acquired from Boston a week ago and Andre Ethier hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning of a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
“It’s all about executing. There’s been a couple of hiccups,” said Beckett, who was iced from the top of his right shoulder down to his hand after the game, when he got squirted on the field with a hose wielded by Aaron Harang.
Beckett dropped his first start after the Aug. 25 trade, a 10-0 loss at Colorado last Monday. This time, he allowed one run and six hits, struck out nine and walked one to end a career-high five-game losing streak that began on July 20, when he was still with Boston.
“I have the same stuff I did last year when I had probably the best year of my career,” he said.
Beckett credited catcher A.J. Ellis’ game plan for helping him win.
“I don’t know these guys that well,” he said.
The Dodgers snapped an eight-game skid against their NL West rival, leaving the Diamondbacks 6-2 at Dodger Stadium this season.
The Dodgers have dropped five of eight since the blockbuster trade that brought them Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto. The franchise took on about $275 million in salary in an attempt to make the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Gonzalez is struggling, going 0 for 4 on Saturday. Punto is 1 for 5 on the homestand and Crawford won’t play this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
“We’re trying to get to know one another,” said Beckett, noting he’s always been the one welcoming new teammates and not the one being traded.
His first week in Los Angeles has involved making 50-minute drives to the ballpark in the city’s notorious traffic from a friend’s home where his wife and young daughter are living during the transition.
Los Angeles trails San Francisco for the NL West lead by 4 1/2 games and is 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card.
“It’s nice to be in the middle of that in September,” said Beckett, having left a Boston team that has scuffled all season for one that has a chance to make the playoffs.
“We got to figure out some way to win some series. We got some tough ones coming up against the Giants. I kind of need to read up on where everybody is at.”
Beckett left the game after giving up a single to Ryan Wheeler.
“I was hoping I was coming out after the seventh, but I made a dumb pitch to their third baseman,” he said. “I shook A.J. off.”
Beckett helped the Dodgers avoid their longest losing streak to the Diamondbacks, who had won six straight at Dodger Stadium.
“I really wasn’t that uneasy,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said about Beckett’s initial struggles. “I’ve never really seen him just pitch bad. His stuff is pretty consistent every time out.”
Brandon League pitched the ninth to earn his first save since joining the Dodgers on July 30.
Ethier’s 15th homer to the opposite field off Matt Albers (0-1) with two outs in the sixth put the Dodgers ahead for good.
The Dodgers threatened in the eighth, but Justin Upton caught Matt Kemp’s fly ball in right field and his throw to the plate was on the mark. Catcher Miguel Montero held on after Shane Victorino plowed him over and knocked his mask off in a hard collision.
Victorino had walked, stole second and continued to third on Montero’s throwing error.
“As soon as the ball came into my glove, it was like, boom. … I didn’t think he was going to hit me that hard,” Montero said. “I got a little bit dizzy at the moment.”
The Diamondbacks tied it in the third on Upton’s homer that traveled an estimated 432 feet over the back wall in the Dodgers’ left-field bullpen.
Hanley Ramirez put the Dodgers in front in the second with his 23rd homer and 83rd RBI off Tyler Skaggs, who at 21 is the youngest pitcher in the majors. The left-hander from Santa Monica gave up five hits in five innings, struck out three and walked one in his third major league start and first on the road.
“I made one mistake and it seems to happen every outing,” Skaggs said. “I wanted to throw go outside with that pitch, and it ran right down the middle and he hit it out. A solo home run won’t hurt you too much, but today it did.”
NOTES: The Dodgers recalled C Tim Federowicz and RHP Javy Guerra and selected the contract of RHP John Ely from Triple-A Albuquerque. To make room on the 40-man roster, OF Alfredo Silverio was transferred to the 60-day DL. … The Diamondbacks reinstated INF Willie Bloomquist, RHP Josh Collmenter and RHP Takashi Saito from 15-day DL; recalled C Konrad Schmidt from Triple-A Reno, selected contract of OF Tyler Graham from Reno, activated INF Cody Ransom and transferred RHP Daniel Hudson from 15-day to 60-day DL. … Dodgers owner Mark Walter brought two of his three dogs to “Bark in the Park.” Boo, a rescue black Labrador and pit bull mix, and Sophie, a mini dachshund, each wore team gear and watched the game from his box behind the plate.