LOS ANGELES — In the category of bizarre baseball plays, count the triple play the Dodgers hit into Tuesday night.
It included two base runners being thrown out, including one at the plate, and two managerial challenges — neither of which worked in the Dodgers’ favor.
"It was a little bit strange," manager Don Mattingly said.
More than a little bit. But on a night the Dodgers left the bases loaded three times and squandered several scoring opportunities, strange was an appropriate word.
Even more strange: They lost to the Cleveland Indians 10-3 at Dodger Stadium and failed again to win four games in a row this season. In games following three-game winning streaks, their record is 0-7.
"Honestly, I do what I preach," Mattingly said. "I put games behind me. So I don’t worry about the last three. I worry about this one. This one didn’t really go the way I wanted it to. This one lets you know you’ve got to get better."
Although he didn’t specifically say so, he was undoubtedly referring to the triple play in the fourth inning, which was set up after a leadoff double by pitcher Josh Beckett, a bunt single by Dee Gordon and a single to right by Yasiel Puig that scored Beckett.
That cut Cleveland’s lead to 5-3 with an opportunity for the Dodgers to pull even.
But then Adrian Gonzalez, who homered in the first inning, lifted a shallow fly ball to left. Michael Brantley charged in for the ball and made the catch. Gordon tagged up but was thrown out on a perfect strike to catcher Yan Gomes.
After Gomes applied the tag, Puig tagged and broke for second, hoping to catch the catcher off guard. Gomes quickly threw to second, but Puig was called safe by umpire Paul Nauert.
Indians manager Terry Francona asked for a replay, and it showed that Puig was out.
Then Mattingly came out to ask for a replay on the play at the plate on Gordon. But he lost that one.
"It happened so fast, you’re looking at so many different things, that you want to see if the catcher blocked (the plate)," Mattingly said. "That thing is a free look if it’s blocked. Then Terry beats me out there, and at that time we’re looking at that play at the plate.
"We figure it’s worth trying."
Tonight, the #Dodgers became the first team in @MLB to cross the 2,000,000 mark in home attendance. Thank you!
What might have been more disconcerting to Mattingly was the fact Gordon tried to score when he could have remained at third with one out and Matt Kemp coming up. Instead, the inning was over.
Mattingly said there were situations in the game that were "teaching opportunities." That was clearly one of them.
"That’s a play that we talk about, game situations," he said. "It seems like in the last four or five (games), we’ve gotten away with a couple of them where we’ve got to play the scoreboard. We’ve got to play the situation. Certain places, you feel like you’ve almost got to be 100 percent with where you’re at in the order. Without getting into it, that’s one of those areas."
Beckett struggled early in the game, giving up a two-run homer to Lonnie Chisenhall in the first, then surrendering two more runs in the third. Mattingly said Beckett is having issues getting ready between starts, but Beckett brushed it off.
"We’re all battling some things," he said. "It’s the way it is. I’ve got to do a better job of executing pitches. That’s really what it comes down to."