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Reds try to rebound behind Leake
CINCINNATI (NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO/STATS/AP) -- Josh Beckett has lost back-to-back starts since throwing a no-hitter, but he's not entirely to blame.
The Los Angeles Dodgers look to continue their recent success at the plate in order to give Beckett some help against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Beckett (3-3, 2.57 ERA) no-hit Philadelphia on May 25, but has since gone winless. He's allowed four runs in 11 innings over that stretch, but hasn't received any run support.
That was the case Wednesday, when he yielded a pair of solo homers with six strikeouts in six innings, only to be charged with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Beckett hasn't lost three straight starts since Aug. 14-27, 2012, a stretch that included the blockbuster trade from Boston to Los Angeles (34-31).
He hasn't faced the Reds (29-33) since making his only appearance in Cincinnati, winning in 2008 while with the Red Sox.
The offense appears primed to give Beckett some help. The Dodgers are hitting .292 while averaging 5.8 runs while going 3-1 on this seven-game trip. They had dropped six of the previous eight, batting .174 with 11 runs in those defeats.
Los Angeles collected 10 hits Monday, and Scott Van Slyke homered on two of his three while driving in four runs in a 6-2 win in the opener of this four-game set at Cincinnati.
That production may have earned Van Slyke a third straight start in center field while the Dodgers deal with injuries to outfielders Yasiel Puig (hip) and Carl Crawford (ankle).
"I know what I'm here for, so I don't mind it. I'm not going to complain," said Van Slyke, who has started in left, center and at first base.
Dee Gordon is nursing a hip injury, but may be back at second base after being limited to pinch-hitting duties Monday. He's 6 for 11 with two triples, a double and three RBIs over his last four games.
The Reds have a .190 average while dropping four of six, and 10 of the 15 runs over that stretch have come in the victories.
Todd Frazier will try to bounce back from his 0-for-3 performance in the series opener after going 9 for 26 with four solo homers over the previous seven games.
The third baseman, though, is 5 for 25 (.200) in six career meetings with the Dodgers.
Improvement at the plate may be in order as Mike Leake (3-5, 3.29) tries to bounce back from his worst start of the season. He gave up five runs and eight hits - two homers - in five innings of Thursday's 6-1 loss to San Francisco. It was the first time this season the right-hander failed to complete at least six innings.
He also had a 2.16 ERA over six outings prior to Thursday, but he only had a 1-2 record since he was backed by an average of 2.38 runs.
Run support hasn't been an issue against Los Angeles at home, where Leake has won two of three starts despite a 5.23 ERA.
He's held Van Slyke hitless in three at-bats, but Gordon is 2 for 4 with a double.