The Los Angeles Dodgers went into Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a small rut and hoping to see improved results from Brandon McCarthy after he struggled through three consecutive starts.
Starling Marte drew a one-out walk in the first inning, then stole second base with ease. After walking Andrew McCutchen, McCarthy struck out Gregory Polanco. Jung Ho-Kang walked to load the bases and John Jaso was hit by a pitch to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Francisco Cervelli was called out on strikes to end a long first inning. Gerrit Cole quickly found himself in trouble as Chase Utley hit a leadoff double and Josh Reddick dropped down a drag bunt for a single.
Corey Seager grounded into a double play, but it scored Utley to tie the game. McCarthy retired the first two batters faced in the second inning before running into more trouble.
Adam Frazier singled, Marte doubled, and McCutchen walked to load the bases. McCarthy walked a second straight batter, bringing in a run that gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero went on to check on McCarthy and removed him from the game.
The Dodgers later announced that was due to right hip stiffness. Josh Fields took over and allowed an RBI single before getting out of the inning. Rob Segedin led off the bottom of the second with a base hit that ate up Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer.
Segedin scored with two outs on Utley’s second double of the game. Fields picked up a pair of strikeouts in the third after Francisco Cervelli’s leadoff single. Julio Urias replaced Fields and struck out Frazier to end the inning.
The Dodgers benefitted from replay after it appeared Joc Pederson grounded into an inning-ending double play. A challenge of the call at second revealed Frazier’s foot came off the bag early, and Adrian Gonzalez was put back on second.
That proved key as Howie Kendrick grounded to Jung Ho-Kang, who booted the ball and then threw it away. His two errors allowed Gonzalez to score, tying the game at 3-3. Urias worked around a ground-rule sun double and walk in the fourth to throw a scoreless inning.
After hitting into a force out, Reddick stole second base. Seager cashed him in with a looping RBI single that was just out of Mercer’s leaping attempt. Cervelli and Mercer combined for back-to-back singles with no outs in the fifth.
Urias settled back in and retired the next three batters, ending the inning with a strikeout. Pederson doubled to lead off the bottom of the fifth and took an extra base on Polanco’s error. Kendrick followed with an RBI double, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 5-3.
A.J. Ellis was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with one out. That prompted Roberts to call back Yasmani Grandal from the on-deck circle and allow Urias to bat for himself. The rookie pitcher dropped down a squeeze bunt and Kendrick was ruled out at home plate.
However, the Dodgers challenged the call and it was overturned. Jared Hughes took over for Cole to get the Pirates out of the inning with a 6-3 deficit. Urias sandwiched a strikeout with two walks in the sixth and gave way to Joe Blanton.
The right-handed reliever struck out David Freese before walking Cervelli to load the bases. The Dodgers’ nine walks set a season high; though, McCarthy was responsible for five of them in his short outing. Blanton got out of the jam by retiring Mercer.
Pederson added to the Dodgers’ lead in the sixth with an opposite-field, two-run homer. The Dodgers had two runners reach in the seventh but stranded both, and it marked the first inning in which they didn’t score at least one run.
Kang clubbed a solo home run off Pedro Baez in the eighth, trimming the Dodgers’ lead to 8-4. Jeff Locke retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth for the first 1-2-3 inning of the day.
Josh Ravin issued a pair of walks in the ninth inning and was removed with two on and two outs. Kenley Jansen retired Polanco to shut the door on the Pirates and convert the one-out save.