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League gives up latest homer, Dodgers lose again

Wednesday - 5/8/2013, 3:31am  ET

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon, left, tags out Arizona Diamondbacks' Gerardo Parra as he tries to steal second during the sixth inning of their baseball game, Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

JOE RESNICK
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- For the second time in four days, Brandon League gave up a home run that his teammates couldn't overcome.

Paul Goldschmidt fought through an 11-pitch at-bat against the Dodgers' closer on Tuesday night and got a huge payoff at the end, a two-run shot in the ninth inning that sent the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory and handed Los Angeles its sixth straight defeat.

League (0-2) walked Gerardo Parra to open the ninth and struck out Didi Gregorius. Goldschmidt worked the count full, then fouled off five pitches before driving his seventh home run into the left-field pavilion.

"Top of the ninth, tie game at home is pretty much a save situation. You've got to hold the game so you can walk 'em off in the bottom of the ninth," League said. "My plan was to get Goldschmidt to ground into a double play. That's an example of what happens when you throw a (lousy) pitch. Mechanics are not the issue right now. I'm not all over the strike zone. I'm just not executing what I need to execute."

On Saturday night in San Francisco, League gave up a game-ending homer by Guillermo Quiroz in a 10-9 loss to the Giants.

"When you get a chance to win the game, you want to come through for your team," Goldschmidt said. "Once we got to 3-2, he threw me five fastballs and I was just trying to fight them off. He's got that really good slider and split-finger, so I was trying to make sure that in case he threw that to just step back a little bit."

"I was able to get that last one and get it up in the air enough. I knew I hit it well, but it was one of those where you weren't 100 percent sure. It's a fair ballpark, and if you hit it well, the ball's going to go. But there aren't too many cheap home runs here."

Not so if you're Nick Punto. The Dodgers' light-hitting utility man homered into the lower seats in the right-field corner in the second inning against Brandon McCarthy before driving in the tying run with a seventh-inning double off the right-hander.

Punto's homer, his first with the Dodgers, gave him as many through the first 32 games of the season as slugger Matt Kemp, who hit a career-high 39 two years ago.

Punto extended his home run streak to 12 consecutive seasons -- nine of which he has had only one. In 998 major league games he has homered 16 times in 2,818 regular-season at-bats, including a career-high four in 2005 with Minnesota. It was the first time in his big league career that he hit one before June.

"I've seen him do that before. Unfortunately for him, it hasn't happened too many times," said Arizona outfielder Jason Kubel, who played with Punto for seven seasons in Minnesota. "He hits balls hard in BP, so I know it's there."

Dodgers starter Josh Beckett gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings with five strikeouts and two walks. The no-decision kept the three-time All-Star winless through his first seven starts of a season for the first time in his 13-year career. He is 0-4 with a 5.80 ERA.

The Diamondbacks scored a run in each of the first two innings, only to see the Dodgers respond with a run in the bottom half both times. Punto tied it 2-all, snapping a home run drought of 157 at-bats since his previous one on June 2, 2012, against Toronto's Carlos Villanueva.

Beckett gave up a leadoff hit in each of the first five innings, including doubles by Parra in the first and Eric Chavez in the second. Parra scored on Goldschmidt's groundout, and Chavez came home on Kubel's single.

Arizona regained the lead in the fifth when Gregorius led off with a single, Goldschmidt walked and Chavez came through with an RBI single. Beckett got a leadoff single of his own in the bottom half, but he was quickly erased on Carl Crawford's first double-play grounder of the season.

Beckett was trailing 3-2 and heading for his 100th career loss when Punto got him off the hook with a drive to right-center. It scored Skip Schumaker all the way from first base after his leadoff walk -- the only one allowed by McCarthy, who gave up three runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings.

David Hernandez (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Arizona closer J.J. Putz left with stiffness in his right elbow after issuing a leadoff walk in the ninth to Punto, but Heath Bell got three outs for his second save after getting all the time he needed to warm up.

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