NEW YORK -- Even a 9-4 win isn't simple for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Even a seemingly lopsided game isn't simple.
The Dodgers stayed above .500 with their Tuesday night win over the New York Mets, but they also stayed complicated and couldn't feel very satisfied.
They faced the possibility of losing third baseman Juan Uribe for an extended period, after Uribe reinjured his right hamstring on a ninth-inning double. They also faced the realization that they'd made yet another game much tougher than it should have been, and had forced much of their bullpen to pitch under stress in a game they should have had under control.
Manager Don Mattingly, hoping his team can get going after underachieving for nearly two months, said Tuesday he wanted to treat it as if the season were just starting now.
If so, it was quite an opening day, one perhaps best capsulized by Josh Beckett's angry look as he left the mound in the sixth inning.
Beckett got credit for a second straight win, a pretty nice accomplishment for a pitcher who had gone 20 months without even one victory before the recent streak. But unlike his previous start, when he gave up only an unearned run in 6 1/3 innings against the Miami Marlins, this time Beckett had to be bailed out by the bullpen despite being handed a five-run lead.
"You just hate to kill your bullpen in the first game of the series, and that's what I was mad about," Beckett said. "I was mad at myself. I was just mad at myself."
Beckett didn't retire a batter in the sixth, giving up home runs to Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda. He left the final 12 outs of the game to the bullpen, and left the game close enough that J.P. Howell, Chris Withrow and Brian Wilson each had to pitch with the tying run either on base or at the plate.
"This was the bullpen and their win," Beckett said. "It's not one I look back at and say I really deserve it."
He got it, because the Dodgers' offense erupted for 15 hits, one short of its season high. Adrian Gonzalez had three of them, including a two-run home run that put the Dodgers ahead in the fifth inning. Every starter but catcher A.J. Ellis had at least one hit, and that includes Beckett, whose second-inning single drove in the first Dodgers run.
"I had no doubt that these guys are going to hit," Beckett said. "They're going to score."
The Dodgers haven't done anything well enough over the season's first couple of months. They came to New York having lost four of their past five series, dropping their record to 23-22.
"Playing a game over .500 obviously is not going to be good enough," Mattingly said Tuesday afternoon.
"I think we do have to play better," he repeated late Tuesday night.
Getting important outs from the bullpen would help, and Mattingly was able to get plenty of them in this win. Withrow got the biggest ones, inducing a pop-up from Duda with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh, then getting Wilmer Flores to ground out to end the inning.
It was a tight 6-4 game at that point, and only the Dodgers' three-run ninth made it look one-sided at the end.
And with Uribe leaving the game in the ninth, possibly to head to the disabled list, it added another layer of negativity to the victory.