LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Colorado Rockies got enough runs off Josh Beckett to overcome another mediocre start by Juan Nicasio and salvage the final game of a sub-.500 road trip.
Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez each hit two-run doubles, and center fielder Dexter Fowler robbed Adrian Gonzalez of what would have been his second home run of the game, leading the Rockies to a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Reliever Josh Outman (1-0) got credit for the victory in the rubber game of the series, allowing one hit over two scoreless innings. Colorado’s relievers pitched 24 2-3 innings on this 3-4 road trip and allowed three runs – all of them unearned.
“Our bullpen is throwing the ball really well,” manager Walt Weiss said. “That’s what we’ve been talking about. If our starting pitching can give us a chance, with the way our bullpen is throwing and the way our offense can score runs, we’re going to win some games.”
Nicasio was lifted by Weiss with a 5-3 lead after throwing 92 pitches in four innings and giving up three runs on five hits with six strikeouts. The last time the right-hander faced the Dodgers, on June 2, 2012, he sustained a knee injury that ended his season.
“It was a matter of his pitch count. I didn’t want to start him the next inning with 92 pitches already,” Weiss said. “He had to work hard to get through four, but he gave us a chance to win. And that’s our bottom line.”
Beckett (0-4) gave up five runs and five hits in four innings before he was lifted for a pinch hitter. It’s the first time in his 13-year career that the three-time All-Star and 2003 World Series MVP has gone winless in his first six starts.
“We just tried to be patient with him, force him to throw something over the plate and put our best swing on it,” leadoff hitter Eric Young said. “We were fortunate enough to do that and find some holes with guys on base so we could score those early runs.”
Colorado snapped a 3-all tie in the fourth when Josh Rutledge led off with a double, Young walked and Carlos Gonzalez drove both of them in with his double into the right field corner.
“The one that stings the most is the CarGo ball – the 2-0 curveball. I threw the wrong pitch at that spot, at that time,” Beckett said. “I’ve just got to get back to work, figure something out. That’s what this business is all about. I can’t just go out and keep pitching like (this).”
The Rockies grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first against Beckett, who threw 18 pitches before recording an out. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, making his second start of the season after returning from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, misplayed Young’s grounder toward the middle for an error.
Fowler’s single and a walk to Carlos Gonzalez loaded the bases for Tulowitzki, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with an injured left shoulder and drove in a pair of runs with his double to left-center. Michael Cuddyer followed with a sacrifice fly.
“Beckett mixes it up quite a bit and keeps the ball down, so he’s tough,” Fowler said. “But fortunately, we got some good pitches to hit and did something with them.”
Los Angeles got two of those runs back in the bottom half when Adrian Gonzalez drove a 2-2 pitch into the lower seats in the right field corner after a double by Ramirez. The Dodgers’ cleanup hitter nearly had his second homer in as many at-bats, driving a 2-2 pitch to left-center with two men on in the third before Fowler leaped above the 8-foot fence to haul it in.
“You make a catch like that, especially with runners on, and that’s a game-changer right there,” Fowler said.
Los Angeles managed to get the tying run across later that inning when Nick Punto scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch to A.J. Ellis after a two-out intentional walk to Andre Ethier, who came in 7 for 11 lifetime against Nicasio.
Colorado extended the margin to 7-3 in the seventh on an RBI double by Cuddyer and a run-scoring single by Rutledge, who had three hits.
NOTES: Carlos Gonzalez’s .362 career average against the Dodgers is the second-highest among active players, nine points behind the Mets’ David Wright. … Beckett is 7-20 with a 4.95 ERA in his last 36 starts, including his final two outings of 2011. … The Rockies loaded the bases in the second, but Beckett escaped unscathed as Tulowitzki looked at a borderline third strike at the knees. … Ellis came in leading the majors with an average of 4.57 pitches per plate appearance. He saw 17 pitches in his four trips to the batter’s box on Wednesday, going 1 for 4. … Dodgers LHP Chris Capuano, sidelined since April 17 after straining his left calf in his first start of the season, threw 72 pitches over 5 1-3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque against Memphis. He allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out three and walked one.
By JOE RESNICK, Associated Press
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)