Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt celebrates his go-ahead… (Harry How / Getty Images )
These are desperate times for the Dodgers, desperate enough that Manager Don Mattingly has resorted to searching for positive omens on his way to work.
Mattingly thought he found what he was looking for upon his arrival at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
“As soon as I walked around the corner, the elevator was just dinging to go down,” he said. “I didn’t have to wait for the elevator at all.”
BOX SCORE: Arizona 5, Dodgers 3
But the short wait for the elevator was nothing more than a short wait for the elevator. The last-place Dodgers lost their sixth consecutive game, falling to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-3, as closer Brandon League served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the ninth inning.
Only 31 games into the season, the Dodgers already have two six-game losing streaks.
Mattingly was noticeably downcast after the game.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating for this club to lose six games in a row two different times already,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly tinkered with his slumping lineup, if only to change it for the sake of changing it. Shortstop Dee Gordon was moved from eighth to second, trading places with second baseman Nick Punto.
“I don’t think there’s any magic formula,” Mattingly said. “We can move the furniture around. We can get guys in different spots. Once we get past all the smoke and mirrors, we have to perform.”
As it turned out, Punto was the source of majority of the Dodgers’ offense. The scrappy utilityman was two for three with a home run and a run-scoring double, the latter eliciting chants of “Pun-to!” from home fans who were as desperate as the manager.
Josh Beckett remained winless at 0-4. But unlike some of the other times he pitched this season, Beckett lived dangerously but was perfectly adequate, holding the Diamondbacks to three runs over six innings. He gave up nine hits and three walks.
Early on, Beckett looked as if he could be in for a repeat of his performance six days earlier, when he was tagged for five runs in a season-low four innings in a loss to the Colorado Rockies. Beckett started the game by serving up a double to Gerardo Parra, who scored later in the first inning on a groundout by Goldschmidt to put the visitors ahead, 1-0.
The Dodgers responded in their first time up. With two on and two outs, Andre Ethier singled to center field to drive in Matt Kemp and level the score, 1-1.
Beckett began the second inning by giving up another double, this one to Eric Chavez. Jason Kubel singled to score Chavez and move the Diamondbacks back ahead, 2-1.
Punto drew the Dodgers even again in the bottom of the inning, blasting a solo home run to right field. The home run was the first of the season for Punto, who is now hitting .368.
The game remained tied at 2-2 until the fifth inning, when Chavez singled in rookie shortstop Didi Gregorius to give the Diamondbacks at 3-2 edge.
The slick-fielding Gregorius was three for four and raised his average to .436.
Punto again tied the game in the seventh inning, as he doubled into the gap in right-center off Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy to score Skip Schumaker from first base.
The 3-3 stalemate lasted until the ninth inning, when League walked Parra and served up a towering blast to Goldschmidt two at-bats later that put the Dodgers in a 5-3 hole.
Goldschmidt also hit a home run in the series opener the previous night.