The Los Angeles Dodgers got a coveted victory, and it didn’t matter one bit whether they earned it or had it handed to them.
What counted was that their six-game losing streak was over.
Mark Ellis drove in three runs, and Los Angeles beat erratic Jake Arrieta and the Baltimore Orioles 7-4 Sunday for their first win in over a week.
Matt Kemp singled in the go-ahead run during a four-run fifth inning, and the Dodgers received a solid performance from their bullpen in the finale of the three-game interleague series.
Making his fourth start of the season, Arrieta (1-1) allowed only two singles in four-plus innings. But he walked five – three of whom scored – and hit a batter, who also came home.
”I really feel like the Dodgers didn’t beat us today. I beat us,” Arrieta said. ”I put us in a tough situation, not giving up many hits at all, just making their job a lot easier by putting them on base for free. It’s unacceptable.”
Adam Jones homered and Chris Davis had three hits for the Orioles, who blew an early 4-1 lead.
Los Angeles starter Stephen Fife, recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque before the game as an emergency replacement for Chad Billingsley, gave up three runs in the first inning. But he ended up outlasting Arrieta, who couldn’t get an out in the fifth.
”To just put them on free, when they’re not having to work for it, is not good. It’s really not,” Arrieta said.
It was great for the Dodgers, however, who were delighted to end their longest losing streak since a seven-game run last June.
”Any win is big for us at the moment,” Kemp said.
Manager Don Mattingly added, ”It was obviously something that we needed. We talk about trying to get that rock rolling the other direction. It’s got to start somewhere. That’s a good start for us today.”
After a day off Monday, Los Angeles will seek to build on that victory in New York against the Mets on Monday.
”You may look back in a week and say this is a big game if we start to put some (wins) together,” Mattingly said. ”If we go into New York and don’t play well then you don’t look at it as anything. It’s really going to be up to us.”
Before the game, the Dodgers put Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness and recalled Fife. Billingsley, who finished last season on the DL with soreness in the same elbow, will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday for further medical evaluation.
It was another blow to the struggling Dodgers, whose starting rotation was already without Zach Greinke (left broken collarbone), Chris Capuano (left calf strain) and Ted Lilly (left shoulder surgery).
Fife, who started five games with Los Angeles last season, allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.
”Kind of below average,” Fife said in assessing his performance. ”I’d like to have come out of the game better, gotten deeper. I kind of failed in one aspect but gave us enough of a chance to walk out of here with a win.”
J.P. Howell (1-0) gave up a single before getting the final out in the fifth. Matt Guerrier and Paco Rodriguez each pitched a hitless inning, Kenley Jansen allowed a single in the eighth and Brandon League got three outs for his fifth save.
Down 4-1, the Dodgers took advantage of Arrieta’s wildness to score four runs in the fifth. After sandwiching two walks around a hit batter, Arrieta was pulled after giving up a two-run single to Ellis. Adrian Gonzalez greeted T.J. McFarland with a liner into the left-field corner that glanced off the glove of Nate McLouth for an RBI double, and Kemp capped the uprising with a run-scoring single.
The four runs matched the most by Los Angeles in one inning this season.
Arrieta, who gave up five runs, has not yet pitched more than five innings in any start this season. Over 19 innings, the right-hander has allowed 15 hits, 16 walks and 14 earned runs.
A.J. Ellis singled in a run in the seventh and Jerry Hairston delivered a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Baltimore welcomed Fife back to the majors in rude fashion, sending eight batters to the plate in a three-run first. Nick Markakis singled in a run, J.J. Hardy hit a bases-loaded single with two outs and Fife contributed to the onslaught by throwing a wild pitch and hitting a batter.
Arrieta retired the first six batters but lost control in the third. He walked three batters and yielded a sacrifice fly to Mark Ellis before striking out Kemp with two outs and the bases loaded.
In the bottom half, Jones hit a drive into the left field seats for a 4-1 lead.
NOTES: For the first time in six games, the Orioles did not allow a first-inning run. … Baltimore will send Chris Tillman to the mound Monday in the opener of a three-game set against visiting Toronto. … Jones has reached safely in 17 of 18 games. … Davis went 7 for 12 in the series to up his batting average to .403.