- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Same pitcher, different approach, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitcher Josh Beckett couldn’t be happier.

“Josh was good, and it was a lot of the same thing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Keeping guys off-balanced.”

Beckett’s reinvention continued Saturday night in the Dodgers’ 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

His lively right arm which once produced one fastball after another has found new life by easing up.

“It’s a little easier the other way, but it’s been good,” Beckett said. “I’m locating my curveball, too. It’s not like I’m throwing curveballs down the middle. I’m back-dooring them to lefties and getting them away to righties and getting them out front.”

Beckett (5-4) pitched seven strong innings, and Hanley Ramirez drove in two runs.

Beckett, in his first start against San Diego this year, allowed four hits and two walks. No Padres reached second base, and San Diego never had more than one runner on base at a time against him.

Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 21st save in 24 chances, one night after allowing three runs for the loss.

Tyson Ross (6-7) worked seven innings for San Diego.

But the story was Beckett working over the Padres’ hitters.

“(Beckett) had that tantalizing curveball all night long, all different counts,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He kept it down in the strike zone and he was throwing it for a called strike right at the knee. He threw enough fastballs to keep us honest.”

Beckett continued his stellar work against NL West teams, tying a season-high with eight strikeouts and lowering his ERA to 1.40 against divisional foes.

“The way I pitch is different,” said Beckett, who is 4-1 on the road with a no-hitter and a 1.88 ERA. “I never really felt like I had to give in.”

Becket had plenty of praise for Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, who reached base three times and scored two runs.

“Any time he gets on base our chances of scoring go way up,” Beckett said. “He’s special over there.”

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