PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Josh Beckett's left hip isn't 100 per cent. Neither is his fastball.
Still, the Los Angeles Dodgers veteran right-hander was in no mood to use either as an excuse after his return from the disabled list lasted less than four innings in a 12-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
"I was ready the pitch," Beckett said. "The trainers cleared me. The doctors cleared me. I just didn't pitch well and I put the guys coming in behind me in a tough spot because they had to pitch way too many innings."
Far too many, as it turned out.
Beckett allowed four runs in 3 2-3 innings and while the Dodgers erased an early 4-1 deficit to tie the game, the bullpen crumpled late as the Pirates scored four runs in the sixth and the eighth to improve to a National League-best 33-21 at home.
"It was one of those games where every time we caught them or were going to catch them, they kept pulling away," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Good teams do that and they're a good team."
Beckett was in the middle of a late-career renaissance when his hip flared up in a victory over Colorado on July 8. The rust showed in his return.
Neil Walker, Gregory Polanco and Ike Davis all hit solo homers against Beckett, who had allowed just one earned run in his previous 27 innings pitched on the road.
"They weren't calling the low strike early and I think he got a little frustrated," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Beckett. "He started throw the ball up in the zone to try to get strikes and he made mistakes that they wound up hitting."
Polanco was just getting started. Given a rare day off on Monday to hit the reset button, Polanco later added a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth to put the Pirates in front for good. The rookie, who came in hitting .133 in his previous 11 games, finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
"To fight through an at-bat and drive in a couple of runs opposite field, off gap, it was good to see," Hurdle said.
Walker went 2 for 4 with his 15th homer and three RBIs. Davis finished with three hits, including his sixth home run.
Vance Worley (3-1) overcame some shaky defence behind him to win for the first time in nearly a month.
Adrian Gonzalez smacked his 15th long ball of the season and finished with three RBIs for the Dodgers. Maholm (1-5) took the loss after giving up consecutive singles leading off the sixth and Wright couldn't shut the door.
Wright managed to get two outs before things went south. He walked Gaby Sanchez to load the bases before Polanco's opposite-field single to left. Travis Snider followed with an RBI single and after Wright hit Pirates star Andrew McCutchen, Polanco sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it 8-4.
"I just had a terrible night," Wright said. "I wasn't locating pitches and I was all over the place."
Pittsburgh's attempts to gain some retribution for McCutchen getting plunked nearly backfired.
Pittsburgh reliever Justin Wilson was ejected in the top of the seventh after hitting Justin Turner. Hurdle joined Wilson in the clubhouse after getting tossed by third base umpire Jeff Nelson.
"I was just more surprised there wasn't a warning given," Wilson said. "Umpire's decision. Once you're thrown, you're thrown."
Gonzalez followed with a lined shot to the seats in right-centre off Jared Hughes to draw the Dodgers to 8-6. Scott Van Slyke pulled Los Angeles within a run in the eighth with the Dodgers' first pinch-hit homer of the year before Pittsburgh touched reliever Chris Perez for four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Worley was far more efficient. The play behind him was not. The Dodgers turned Pedro Alvarez's MLB-leading 22nd error into two runs in the third and scored two more to tie it in the sixth when Josh Harrison — Alvarez's replacement — threw a ball into the stands to spark a two-run rally as the Dodgers pulled even.
NOTES: Alvarez left the game after the fourth inning due to discomfort in his left knee. ... Walker is 10 for his last 17 (.588). ... The series wraps up on Wednesday when Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano (1-7, 4.43 ERA) faces Dan Haren (8-7, 4.30).