This was more like how the Dodgers pictured themselves playing.
Even after Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to put them in front, they continued scoring runs. They didn't make any errors on defense. Their bullpen pitched four scoreless innings.
But the 9-4 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field on Tuesday night was as alarming as it was uplifting.
Juan Uribe strained his right hamstring again. And unlike the last time, he could be heading to the disabled list.
"Maybe," Uribe acknowledged.
Uribe, who was injured running out a ninth-inning double, said the muscle bothered him more than it did when he strained it earlier this month. Last time, he missed five games.
"Pulled it a little bit more," he said.
The Dodgers said they would wait until Wednesday to decide what to do with their third baseman, who is clearly their best defensive infielder.
The Dodgers have a disconcerting lack of infield depth, both on their roster and in their farm system. Their situation became even worse Tuesday, when a part of triple-A infielder Alex Guerrero's ear was bitten off by teammate Miguel Olivo during a dugout altercation.
If Uribe is sidelined for any period of time, the Dodgers figure to use Justin Turner and Chone Figgins at third base. Neither is hitting particular well. Turner is batting .230, Figgins .211.
Uribe's status aside, Manager Don Mattingly was pleased with how the Dodgers played in the wake of losing two consecutive games to the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
"Today is a good start," Mattingly said. "We were able to put some runs on the board, they were able to get back in the game, we tack on runs to make it easier on ourselves."
Gonzalez broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with his home run. The Dodgers scored twice more in that inning, with Carl Crawford driving in Matt Kemp and Uribe knocking in Crawford to extend the lead to 5-1.
Josh Beckett served up sixth-inning home runs to Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda that moved the Mets to within 6-4, but the bullpen protected what remained of the lead. J.P. Howell, Chris Withrow, Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen combined to pitch four scoreless innings.
"This was the bullpen and their win," Beckett said.
Beckett was visibly upset when exiting the game.
"You hate to kill your bullpen the first game of the series," he said. "That's what I was upset at myself about."
The Dodgers added three runs in the ninth inning, which included run-scoring singles by Dee Gordon and Yasiel Puig.
Puig was three for four with a walk and scored two runs. Gonzalez was also three for four with a walk.
"Tonight was great," Gonzalez said. "We took walks. We put pressure on them almost every inning. We worked the count well."
Beckett said he figured the Dodgers would start hitting.
"I had no doubt," he said. "I told you guys a couple starts ago, these guys are going to hit. Up and down the lineup, they're really good hitters."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times