Hiroki Kuroda was magnificent Wednesday night, pitching seven scoreless innings, leading the Dodgers to a 2-0 win over the Pirates in the third game of a four-game series in Pittsburgh. Kuroda struck out a season-high eight batters, allowing just three singles and three walks, throwing 113 pitches. It was the fifth start of seven or more scoreless innings by a Dodger this season, and second by Kuroda.
Just like last night, the Dodgers and Pirates were scoreless through five innings. In fact, the Pirates didn't get a hit off Kuroda until Brandon Wood singled in the fifth inning. Just like last night, the Dodgers rallied in the sixth inning, though tonight wasn't quite the offensive outburst of Tuesday evening.
An infield single by Andre Ethier was sandwiched in between walks from Ivan DeJesus and Matt Kemp, loading the bases with nobody out. Juan Uribe followed with a grounder up the middle, an easy double play as shortstop Brandon Wood stepped on second base before throwing to first. As deflating as the double play was, a run did score on the play, the first tally of the game.
Then came an interesting decision by Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle. He elected to intentionally walk Rod Barajas, he of the .282 on-base percentage this season and ..283 career OBP, with a runner on third base and two outs. Up stepped rookie Jerry Sands, who made Hurdle pay with a patented Sands' double down the right field line to score the Dodgers' second run. Admittedly, Sands wasn't setting the world on fire (.206/.282/.302 entering tonight), but it's nice to take advantage when someone who makes outs as often as Barajas is given a free base.
Kuroda got into a bit of a jam in the bottom of the sixth inning, as a single, stolen base, walk, and wild pitch gave Pittsburgh runners on second and third base with two outs. However, Kuroda struck out Chris Snyder to end the threat. Matt Guerrier and Vicente Padilla pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to close out the win.
- Matt Kemp got a single and two walks tonight, and stole his 12th base of the season. Kemp didn't steal his 12th base last season until July 6
- The Dodgers improved their record when scoring two runs or less to 3-13 (.188). The rest of the NL is 20-137 (.127) in those situations.
- The five walks by Maholm were the second-most by a pitcher against the Dodgers this season, behind the six walks by reliever Jeff Stevens of the Cubs on April 22. The six total walks by the Dodgers tonight were also the second-highest total this season.
Jon Garland takes the mound tomorrow night as the Dodgers try for their first series win in 18 days, against Charlie Morton of the Pirates
WP - Hiroki Kuroda (4-3): 7 IP, 3 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP - Paul Maholm (1-5): 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 5 walks, 3 striekouts
Sv - Vicente Padilla (3): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts