September and its stretch run arrived, and with it for the Dodgers, a much-needed victory.
It wasn’t the classic type for the Dodgers — all of the game’s runs coming via solo home runs — but the Dodgers managed one more than the Diamondbacks on Saturday, good enough for a 2-1 victory before an announced crowd of 35,992 at Dodger Stadium.
The victory was led by right-hander Josh Beckett, who pitched 6 2/3 very effective innings, and the solo homers of Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier.
The Dodgers snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Diamondbacks with the victory to remain 4½ games back of the Giants in the National League West. Hope remains, but now with a September calendar to officially count down the days.
In Beckett’s first start at Dodger Stadium since the blockbuster trade that brought him to Los Angeles, along with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto on Aug. 25, the right-hander looked like someone who could be a valuable addition to the Dodgers, and not a throw-in to land Gonzalez.
He matched his season high with nine strikeouts, walked one and gave up six hits. The only run he gave up came on a Justin Upton solo homer in the third inning, a ball hit so hard it almost disappeared from sight before landing beyond the ivy-covered wall in the back of the Dodgers’ bullpen.
That tied the score at 1-1, the Dodgers having scored first on the home run by Ramirez off Tyler Skaggs in the second. It was the 23rd home run of the season by Ramirez, and his ninth as a Dodger.
It remained a 1-1 game going into the bottom of the sixth when Ethier drilled a 3-2 pitch from reliever Matt Albers out to center. It was home run No. 15 on the season for Ethier.
Randy Choate, Jamey Wright and Brandon League held Arizona scoreless the rest of the way, League pitching the ninth to earn his first save as a Dodger.
Gonzalez, however, continued to struggle. He was hitless in four at-bats and is currently in a 0-for-15 skid.