Pittsburgh Pirates sweep Dodgers behind 9-run inning, win 13-6


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In a game featuring a total of 30 hits, the Pittsburgh Pirates put together a nine-run seventh inning to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 13-6. The win represents a sweep of the Dodgers and puts the Pirates at 65-44, five games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central before the series between the two teams begins on Tuesday.

The Dodgers scored two runs in the first inning off of a single by Adrian Gonzalez and a groundout by Yasmani Grandal. They added another run in the third when Gonzalez singled in Howie Kendrick. With the Dodgers threatening to add more runs, Andre Ethier ran into the second out of the inning on the base paths when he got hung up between second and third.

Francisco Cervelli put the Pirates on the board in the fourth when he hit a sacrifice fly to score Aramis Ramirez, making the score 3-1. The Dodgers answered with two more runs in the fifth thanks to a single by Grandal and a double by Alberto Callaspo. Andrew McCutchen then hit a powerful two-run home run, his 17th of the season, in the Pittsburgh half of the inning to keep the Pirates within striking distance at 5-3.

Charlie Morton was removed after five innings of work in favor of Arquimedes Caminero. While Morton did strike out six batters, he allowed 10 hits during his outing and was fortunate that most of the those were singles. Caminero pitched two innings and struck out three in his outing.

In the seventh inning, the Pittsburgh offense erupted for nine runs, putting the game out of reach for the Dodgers. Cervelli got the scoring started with a single that brought in Jung Ho Kang. Neil Walker followed with a sacrifice fly to score Pedro Alvarez, tying the game at five. Starling Marte hit an infield single that scored Cervelli and kept the bases loaded with two outs. McCutchen then knocked a single to left which brought in Sean Rodriguez and Gregory Polanco.

Ramirez, the man who made the first out many at-bats prior, singled to plate Marte. At this point Don Mattingly finally showed mercy on Jim Johnson and pulled him from the game after things had gotten way out of hand. New pitcher Joel Peralta was greeted to the game with a three-run home run by Kang (his ninth), raising his and Johnson’s ERA considerably before it was all over.

Jared Hughes worked the eighth inning with a 12-5 Pirate lead, giving up a solo home run to Enrique Hernandez. Not to be out done, Cervelli crushed his sixth home run of the season to deep left field in the Pirate half of the inning, maintaining the lead at seven runs. Antonio Bastardo followed Hughes and pitched the ninth inning, striking out one and allowing no hits.

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What Stood Out

The Pirates trailed in this game until they exploded for nine runs in the seventh inning. Every position player collected at least one hit and outside of Michael Morse, all of the starters had at least one run or one RBI. This game capped a very impressive sweep of a formidable, but slumping team, and a potential playoff opponent in October. With Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer both scheduled to begin rehab assignments in the near future, the Pirates will only be getting stronger as the stretch run continues.

To rain a little bit on this parade, Morton did not have a very good outing. He was fortunate that out of the ten hits he gave up most of them were singles and did not do too much damage. He was also fortunate that the offense was able to chip away at the Los Angeles lead and then blow right past it in the seventh inning to secure the win. Morton will need to have outings that are better than this if he is to be considered for a playoff rotation. But right now with the injury to A.J. Burnett and the ineffectiveness of Jeff Locke and J.A. Happ, he may be the best option by default.

What’s Next

The Pirates will travel to St. Louis to begin a three-game series against the Cardinals on Tuesday at 8:15 PM. Locke and Carlos Martinez will face off in the most important series to date for Pittsburgh. Locke was unable to finish six innings of work in his last three starts and surrendered a total of 11 runs in those games. Martinez was knocked out of the game after the fifth inning in each of his last two starts but will be bringing an ERA of 2.57 into this contest.

Next: Which pitchers could the Pittsburgh Pirates face in a Wild Card game?