The Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the L.A. Dodgers 4-1, with Clint Barmes providing the only Bucco run with a home run. Barmes jumped on Chad Billingsley’s first pitch of the third inning and drove the ball over the left field fence.
The middle of the Dodgers order ensured L.A.’s dominance of the Bucs would continue. Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera and Andre Ethier went 8-for-12 and drove in three runs. The Bucs haven’t been able to win a series set over the Dodgers in twelve years.
Billingsley continued to look like a new pitcher as he held the Pirates to just the Barmes homer. Several Pirates stung the ball, but right at the Dodgers fielders.
Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed two runs on eight hits over five-plus innings while taking the loss. He walked one and struck out three.
In the third inning, Bedard got two quick outs while throwing four pitches. He then walked Mark Ellis, and Matt Kemp reached on an infield single on a ball up the middle. Juan Rivera, who looks like he is now 50, tied up the game with a single.
With the score still tied at one in the sixth, the Bucs looked like they were in business when Nate McLouth and Andrew McCutchen ripped one-out singles. Hard luck Neil Walker lined a shot at SS Dee Gordon who tossed to second to double off Nate and end the threat.
“That’s the game right there,” Walker said. “Two feet either way, a run’s in and we’ve got men on first and second.”
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Dodgers didn’t have such luck. Kemp led off with a single to left field. Rivera was jammed and hit a soft grounder toward Bedard’s left that he wasn’t able to pick up. It looked like Bedard’s knee brace didn’t flex when he needed it most. Right on cue, the middle of the L.A. lineup continued their torrid start of the season as Andre Ethier ripped an RBI single over the glove of Pedro Alvarez into left field to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
The King of the Scrapheap Chris Resop was called upon and he did an excellent job. Resop retired two before intentionally walking A.J. Ellis. Tony Watson came in and retired pinch-hitter James Loney with the bases loaded to end the threat.
The Dodgers expanded on their 2-1 lead in the seventh. Dee Gordon doubled just inside the left field line off Watson to lead off the inning. Evan Meek came in and whiffed Mark Ellis on a nasty slider. He also got Kemp, but L.A. strung together a singlesfest with Rivera and pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn driving in runs to make it a 4-1 ball game.
L.A. relievers were able to retire nine of the last ten Pirates hitters to close out the game.