The Dodgers turned four Florida errors into three unearned runs,
and Beltre came through twice in the late innings. He hit a tying
single with two outs in the ninth, then scored the go-ahead run two
innings later in Los Angeles' 4-3 victory Tuesday night.Florida was one strike from winning, but Beltre flared a pitch
from Armando Benitez into short right field to tie the game. Two
innings later, Beltre singled and scored to help the Dodgers
improve their NL-best record to 16-9."A terrific game to win," manager Jim Tracy said. "We
obviously got a couple of breaks. We beat a real good team
tonight."It was Benitez's first blown save in 11 chances this season.Gagne struck out the side in the 11th for his eighth save,
extending his major league record to 71 straight. And the only
reason Gagne got his chance was because Benitez couldn't come
through on his.Benitez's biggest mistake of the ninth wasn't Beltre's single.
It was his throwing error, just one of many defensive blunders by
Florida, which wasted eight innings of three-hit ball by Josh
Beckett.With one out in the ninth, Paul Lo Duca hit a dribbler to the
right side of the mound. Benitez scooped it up, but threw it by Hee
Seop Choi, who entered that inning as a defensive replacement.Lo Duca was credited with an infield single, and he went to
second on the throwing error. He moved to third on Juan
Encarnacion's flyout and scored on Beltre's hit that fell in front
of a sliding Miguel Cabrera."I was just trying to go with the pitch with two strikes,"
Beltre said. "I was just trying to cover the plate."Benitez dropped his head when Beltre's single dropped in,
obviously disappointed."I made a good pitch," Benitez said. "He hit a good pitch."In the 11th, pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz hit a grounder through
Mike Mordecai's legs at third base for an error that brought home
Beltre, who singled off Justin Wayne (2-1) with one out."I anticipated it would bounce up," Mordecai said. "It stayed
down."Duaner Sanchez (1-0) worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.Alex Gonzalez snapped a season-long slump with three hits for
Florida, which has dropped a season-high four straight. Juan Pierre
had three hits, extending his streak of multihit games to five.Pierre was stranded in the ninth and 11th, and Florida left 11
on in all."We can't afford to continue giving away opportunities,"
Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "It's getting monotonous."Beckett, last year's World Series MVP, struck out seven, walked
two and gave up one earned run. Gonzalez -- who entered hitting .171
-- doubled twice, singled and scored for NL East-leading Florida.Alex Cora had three hits, his third multihit effort in four
games, for the Dodgers.Gonzalez led off the fourth with a double, his second of the
game, and scored two batters later on a single by Pierre to give
the Marlins a 3-1 lead.And with Beckett cruising, three runs seemed to be enough.
Beckett retired his last 10 batters and left with a 3-2 lead, but
Benitez couldn't hold it.The Dodgers got an unearned run in the fifth, cutting it to 3-2.
Cora led off with a single, scoring three batters later when Cesar
Izturis' grounder was misplayed by second baseman Damion Easley --
in the lineup as a replacement for Luis Castillo, who has a
fractured left pinkie.Florida had nine batters reach base against Dodgers starter
Odalis Perez in the first three innings, yet only pushed across two
runs.Wil Cordero singled to drive home Pierre and give the Marlins a
1-0 lead in the first. Los Angeles tied it in the third when Dave
Roberts tripled, bringing home Cora.
Roberts left with a strained right hamstring, an injury
similar to the one that caused him to miss much of last season. He
will be re-evaluated Wednesday, but the chances of him playing are
"not very good," Tracy said. Roberts entered the day leading the
NL with 15 stolen bases. "It's my right leg, but it's not where I
hurt it last year," he said. "It was just smart to come out and
not make it worse." ... Spots 2-7 in the Dodgers' order were a
combined 0-for-16 against Beckett. ... The crowd of 12,520 --
perhaps thinned by Game 7 of the New Orleans-Miami NBA playoff
series -- was Florida's smallest of the season (by 5,102) and the
fewest to see the Dodgers play anywhere (by 7,147).