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LAD@SF: Beckett fans four, gets out of two major jams

The D-backs moved Josh Collmenter into the starting rotation last week because they think they know what he's going to give them every time out.

The Dodgers are hoping what they get out of Josh Beckett is more like what he did in his second start of the season rather than the first.

The two pitchers square off against each other Sunday afternoon in the final game of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium.

Beckett threw five shutout innings in San Francisco on April 15, allowing two hits and striking out four but walking five. It was just his second start since last May. Beckett underwent surgery July 10, 2013, to remove a rib and alleviate a nerve problem, then he had thumb and ankle issues in the spring.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he was encouraged by the new-look Beckett, who is reinventing himself much as teammate Dan Haren has.

"[Beckett] pitched a little backwards more the last time out," Mattingly said. "He used his breaking balls and changeups more. I think he can build on that. If he's a guy who can go out and give you six every game, I think we'd be happy."

The D-backs would be pleased with six innings from Collmenter as well.

Collmenter was shifted from the bullpen to the rotation in place of Randall Delgado after the Arizona starting rotation got off to a horrific start. Of greatest concern was the inability of the starters to last even five innings in a game, which overtaxed the bullpen.

Collmenter was limited in his first start to just 73 pitches because he had not been stretched out as a starter during Spring Training, so he was only able to go four innings.

While he's not overpowering, Collmenter's value comes in his ability to provide consistency.

"We have confidence," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Collmenter. "We know he's not scared. We know he'll try to locate, we know he'll try and follow the game plan. I think we follow that if he can do that, then he'll give us a good outing."

D-backs: No worries for Thatcher
When the D-backs signed free agent left-hander Oliver Perez to a two-year deal in mid-March, it seemed like the writing was on the wall for resident lefty specialist Joe Thatcher.

Except Thatcher wasn't reading from that same script.

"I was kind of surprised by it, but I had confidence in myself," Thatcher said. "I knew the way I was throwing the ball good things were going to happen."

Indeed, not only did Thatcher make the team, but he's also pitched well through the first few weeks of the season.

Dodgers: Puig impresses with arm
Gibson was asked if the D-backs were more apt to run on Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig given his penchant last season for wild throws.

"I think he's much more accurate than he was last year," Gibson said. "I think he's improved a ton. If he's coming in on the ball and gets his feet underneath him, depending on the situation in the game, you're asking for it if you run against him. He's only going to get better."

Worth noting:
• Arizona's Aaron Hill is 15-for-38 (.395) in his career against Beckett, but Paul Goldschmidt, Martin Prado, Cody Ross and Mark Trumbo are a combined 3-for-28 against him.

• The Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez has hit safely in 14 games.

• The first Viva Los Dodgers of the season will be Sunday starting at 10:30 a.m. PT in Lot 6. The festival is held prior to each Sunday home game and features music, family entertainment and autographs from a member of the Dodgers Alumni League.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will sign autographs for fans from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for monetary donations that will benefit the survivors and families of those who lost their lives aboard the South Korean ferry Sewol, which capsized on April 16. 

• Thatcher has not allowed an earned run in his last 33 appearances against the Dodgers, the longest active streak among relievers against Los Angeles.

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