Pirates’ Big 2nd Inning Enough To Beat Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Pirates’ Big 2nd Inning Enough To Beat Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers looked to snap a two-game skid that’s come the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who began the series losers in 13 of their last 15 games. To help accomplish that, the Dodgers sent ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound.

Chad Kuhl, who made his Major League debut, retired the first two batters faced before running into some trouble. Justin Turner kept the first inning alive by drawing a four-pitch walk. Howie Kendrick followed with a base hit and Joc Pederson walked to load the bases.

Kuhl escaped the jam by getting Yasiel Puig to ground out. After giving up a leadoff single to Jordy Mercer, Kershaw induced three straight groundouts to Turner to end the inning. Kuhl settled in nicely in the top of the second, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

Kershaw on the other hand did not look sharp in the bottom half of the second. He gave up two hits and issued a walk to load the bases with one out. After fouling off five pitches, Kuhl struck out swinging.

The Pirates nonetheless did some damage, beginning on an Adam Frazier RBI flare single. David Freese then cleared the bases with a double to right-center field that extended the Pirates’ lead to 4-0.

Corey Seager doubled with one out in the third to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Turner then got the Dodgers on the board with a two-run home run to left field. With two outs and no one on in the top of the fourth, Pirates left fielder Starling Marte helped out his rookie pitcher by robbing Kershaw of an extra-base hit to end the inning.

The ball bounced off Marte’s glove but he was then able to catch it with his bare hand. With Sean Rodriguez on second base in the bottom of the fourth, Frazier hit a two-out single up the middle.

Rather than it adding to the Pirates’ lead, Pederson threw Rodriguez out at home plate to end the inning. After Seager drew a walk in the fifth, Turner hit an RBI double high off the wall in right field to cut the Dodgers’ deficit to 4-3.

Kershaw picked up a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the fifth as he retired the side in order. Marte hit a leadoff single in the sixth but was later caught stealing for the second out of the inning. That proved key as Chris Stewart pulled a double down the left field.

In an interesting decision, Kershaw intentionally walked Rodriguez. It was Kershaw’s first two-walk start since Sept. 19, 2015, and his first intentional walk since May 10, 2015. He ended the inning by striking out pinch-hitter Gregory Polanco.

Adrian Gonzalez pinch hit for Van Slyke in the seventh and grounded into the Pirates’ shift. Trayce Thompson pinch hit for Kershaw and was robbed of a hit by a Frazier diving catch. A.J. Schugel then induced Chase Utley into a pop out.

Casey Fien retired the Pirates in order in the seventh, ending the inning on called strike three to Andrew McCutchen. It was the second pitch of the at-bat that McCutchen disagreed, which prompted him to slam his bat into the ground. Home plate umpire Chris Conroy immediately ejected the start center fielder.

Schugel threw a second scoreless inning in the eighth, and Mark Melancon shut the door in the ninth to wrap up the Pirates’ 4-3 victory. The loss was the Dodgers’ third straight and dropped them to eight games back of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.