Pirates break out of funk, topple Dodgers 11-9
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Harrison went 2 for 3 with a bases-clearing double, David Freese and Gregory Polanco drove in two runs each and the Pittsburgh Pirates broke out of an extended offensive funk by outlasting the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-9 on Wednesday night.
The Pirates entered the game coming off consecutive shutout losses, but wasted little time getting to Los Angeles rookie starter Caleb Ferguson and seven relievers, including former Pittsburgh reliever Daniel Hudson (1-2).
Corey Dickerson had three of Pittsburgh’s 10 hits and scored four times as the Pirates won for just the fifth time in 18 games to avoid dropping below .500 for the first time all season.
Steven Brault (5-1) picked up the victory in relief of ineffective starter Trevor Williams, who lasted just three innings. Felipe Vazquez worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the ninth for his 11th save.
Matt Kemp hit his 10th home run of the season and drove in five runs for the Dodgers, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt. Cody Bellinger added his 10th home run and second in as many nights but the pitching that fueled Los Angeles’ rise back to .500 after a miserable start faltered.
The Dodgers brought up the 21-year-old Ferguson to make a spot start, but the former 38th-round pick from Columbus, Ohio, failed to make it out of the second inning after walking three batters, hitting two others and being charged with four runs while recording just five outs.
Kemp practically kept Los Angeles in it by himself. He boosted his National League-leading batting average to .353 after going 3 for 4. He doubled home two runs in the third as the Dodgers erased an early four-run deficit and his three-run homer into the visiting bullpen at PNC Park drew Los Angeles within 8-7. He lined out to second while representing the go-ahead run against Vazquez in the ninth.
Pittsburgh’s sputtering offense responded each time the Dodgers pushed back. Freese, Harrison, Polanco, Starling Marte and Sean Rodriguez all entered the game mired in slumps of various lengths and each of them drove in at least one run. Polanco’s pinch-hit two-run double in the sixth pushed the advantage to 11-7 and the struggling bullpen did just enough to make it stand up.
The Pirates needed the outburst to offset another iffy start by Williams. The right-hander’s hot April has faded in June. Williams is 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in his seven starts since May 3 after beginning the season by allowing two runs or less in each of his first six starts.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner played after being given the day off Tuesday to deal with an achy left wrist. Manager Dave Roberts said the wrist is something Turner will have to deal with for the next month or two. Roberts added the greatest concern is when Turner fields the ball backhanded.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (sprained right ring finger) responded “favorably” after throwing three innings during a simulated game on Tuesday, but it’s uncertain when he’ll be able to return to the rotation.
Dodgers: Rookie Dennis Santana will make his first major league start in the series finale Thursday. The 22-year-old Santana earned his first victory in the majors by working 3 2/3 innings of relief last week against Colorado.
Pirates: Jameson Taillon (3-4, 3.97) allowed four hits over eight shutout innings against St. Louis last Friday.
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