SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Saturday defended his decision to stay with starting pitcher Josh Beckett in the decisive seventh inning of Friday night's 5-2 loss to the Giants.
Beckett had pitched beyond the sixth inning only twice in his previous 11 starts, including his most recent start for the Dodgers on Sept. 1, when he went 6 1/3 innings.
The previous inning, Beckett allowed a run without a ball leaving the infield. But Hector Sanchez led off the seventh with a single to right and stole second base. Brandon Crawford walked on four pitches and Emmanuel Burriss bunted the runners over. Angel Pagan was walked intentionally to load the bases and, with Brandon League warming up, Mattingly went to the mound but left Beckett in to face Marco Scutaro.
Mattingly said letting Beckett start the seventh inning was an easy decision because his pitch count was 78.
"The only question was, should I have brought in Brandon to face Scutaro?" Mattingly said. "[League] was ready. But Josh had handled him twice and he said he's got this guy."
Scutaro blooped a broken-bat single to right to score the tiebreaking runs.
Kennedy's season in doubt with groin injury
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers infielder Adam Kennedy is probably finished for the season after aggravating a pulled right groin muscle Friday night, manager Don Mattingly said Saturday.
"I think it's pretty bad," said Mattingly. "He hasn't had an MRI, but he felt something pop. Nothing's definitive, but I don't know if there's a chance for him to play again this year. It doesn't sound very good."
Kennedy started ahead of Luis Cruz at third base because of his .381 career average against Tim Lincecum, and he homered in the top of the sixth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
But Kennedy was injured in the bottom half of the inning on Hunter Pence's tricky-hop single that tied the game when Kennedy was unable to get his body in position to make a play. Kennedy was on the disabled list from July 25 to Aug. 10 with the same injury.
Mattingly said right-handed hitter Juan Uribe and switch-hitter Nick Punto become the backups at third base and second base. He said the club also has considered calling up infielder Elian Herrera from Triple-A Albuquerque, which is in the playoffs.
Mattingly believes Dodgers can make playoff run
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers showed up at AT&T Park on Saturday 5 1/2 games out of first and without Matt Kemp in the lineup, but manager Don Mattingly bristled at the suggestion that the Dodgers are done.
"I don't feel like it's over at all," he said. "Are you kidding me? I still look at our lineup, we're capable of scoring runs. I know we haven't done it with Matt, but I know we're capable. I understand where we are, but to say it's over is just crazy."
Mattingly said he's buoyed by the comeback of last year's St. Louis Cardinals, who were 10 1/2 games out of first place on Aug. 5, made the playoffs as a Wild Card and won the World Series.
"After seeing that pennant race, we've got to win today and have a chance to win the series tomorrow," said Mattingly. "Then go to Arizona and win that series and go home and beat St. Louis. For me, I don't think it's over at all. We've got to keep this in perspective.
"I remember, and I think a lot about it, we swept St. Louis four straight and they were getting booed and it looked like a dead team with no chance. Two weeks later they caught fire and rolled right through. We've got to get on that roll. We've shown no indication of that, but when will it start? Today?"
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.