CINCINNATI (AP) - The Reds had reasons to be positive but the rain and Josh Beckett dampened their spirits.
Joey Votto returned from the disabled list but Beckett kept the Reds off balance and lead the Dodgers to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night in a game delayed more than 2 hours by rain.
“He has a knee buckling breaking ball,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He didn’t give us an opportunity to string anything together.”
Beckett allowed two hits in six shutout innings and Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run single.
Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner led the Los Angeles offense with two hits apiece. Beckett got into the act with a single for the Dodgers, who have won three straight and four of five.
Beckett (4-3), who had endured two consecutive 2-1 losses since his no-hitter in Philadelphia on May 25, finished with seven strikeouts and one walk. He also hit a batter with a pitch.
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.
“They (Dodgers) did a nice job of putting the ball in play,” Price said. “They ran some balls through the infield. They have enough team speed to get some good reads off the bat to score.”
Leake (3-6) has pitched better than his record.
“Leake hasn’t had a lot of luck when he’s pitched well,” Price said. “The guys like playing behind him. He’s aggressive. He’ll come back and pitch some good games for us.”
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.
The Reds have scored two runs or fewer in six of the first eight games of the current 10-game homestand. The Reds avoided being shut out against Paul Maholm on Jay Bruce’s leadoff double, Devin Mesoraco’s infield single and Zack Cozart’s one-out RBI single in the seventh. Mesoraco snapped a career-worst 0-for-19 slump with his hit. Chris Perez got Todd Frazier to ground out with the bases loaded, the only real threat the Reds mounted.
“It’s a game of frustration. We know that,” Price said. “We’re frustrated right now but there is no loss in belief of what we have here or our roster. Just because we haven’t done what we’re capable of doing offensively, it’s hard to create the expectation that it will. All we can do is stay positive.”
After the start was delayed 2 hours, 5 minutes by rain, the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second on Gonzalez’s leadoff double and Ethier’s one-out double.
Beckett helped himself in a three-run fifth after Turner led off with a single. With one out, the pitcher faked a bunt and hit a chopper over charging third baseman Frazier for his third hit in 23 at-bats this season. Turner scored on Dee Gordon’s double, and Ramirez drove in both runners with a single to right field.
That pretty much gave Los Angeles control. The largest deficit overcome by the Reds to win this season is two runs.
The Dodgers added a run in the sixth on Matt Kemp’s one-out walk and back-to-back singles by Ethier and Turner, who has four consecutive multihit games. Puig singled, stole second and scored on Gonzalez’s second double in the seventh.
Ethier is hitting .467 (7 for 15) with six RBIs against Leake.
NOTES: Cozart stayed in the game after being hit in the batting helmet by Beckett’s pitch in the fifth. … Ethier’s sixth-inning infield single originally was ruled an out, but manager Don Mattingly’s challenge led to the call being overturned after a replay review. … LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu is the Dodgers’ scheduled starter Wednesday. The last time he faced the Reds, he carried a perfect game through seven innings before settling for a 4-3 win on May 26 in Los Angeles.
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