Dodgers blow lead, come back to beat Pirates

Justin K. Aller

The Dodgers are 3-4 in extra-inning games this season. At 11 innings, Saturday was the second longest of the season for the Dodgers, behind only Wednesday's 12-inning loss to Arizona.

It wasn't pretty, and at times it was infuriating, but the Dodgers pulled out a win on Saturday, beating the Pirates 5-3 in 11 innings at PNC Park, snapping a two-game losing streak.

Andre Ethier opened the 11th inning with a double, scored on a single by Juan Uribe, then Nick Punto doubled for a two-run lead against Vin Mazzaro. The Pirates had retired 13 consecutive batters before the Dodgers rallied in the 11th inning.

For the third time in his last four starts, Clayton Kershaw left after seven innings with a lead and saw that lead blown, costing him a win.

Kershaw in four starts this season has allowed no runs, and not surprisingly is 4-0 in those starts. In his other 11 starts, the ones in which Kershaw has allowed at least one run, his ERA is 2.65 but his record is just 1-4, and the Dodgers even with their win on Saturday are just 4-7 in those games.

For a while it looked like Brandon Cumpton would be the story and not Kershaw. Cumpton struck out the first four Dodgers he faced, two strikeouts shy of former Dodger Pete Richert's MLB record to open a career. Cumpton retired the first eight batters in his major league debut, but eight of the next 15 reached base as the Dodgers touched him up for three runs to give Kershaw a lead.

Kershaw ran into some trouble in the sixth inning when the first two runners reached base, then old friend Russell Martin gave one a ride to left field. Luckily for the Dodgers, Skip Schumaker was there to rob Martin of a three-run home run with a catch over the wall to preserve a 3-1 lead.

After recording the final two outs of the sixth inning, Kershaw struck out the side on 13 pitches in the seventh to conclude his day.

Chris Withrow has gained a fan in manager Don Matingly, as for the second time in two major league starts Withrow was thrown into a setup role. On Saturday he started the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead, but allowed a bloop single, a walk and threw a wild pitch. Withrow rebounded to strikeout Gaby Sanchez and Russell Martin, but was removed in favor of lefty Paco Rodriguez with two outs. Neil Walker greeted Rodriguez with an RBI single to cut the Dodgers' lead in half, but that was all for the Pirates in the eighth.

Kenley Jansen opened the ninth inning with a strikeout, continuing his hot streak. At that point Jansen had retired 15 batters in a row, including nine by strikeout. But none of that mattered to Travis Snider, who took Jansen deep to center for a stunning, game-tying, Kershaw-robbing home run.

The Pirates put the tying runs on second and third base in the 11th inning against Brandon League, but the embattled former closer got out of the inning unscathed for his 14th save of the season.

Notes

  • Peter Moylan loaded the bases, including an intentional walk, in the 10th, but didn't allow a run for his first win as a Dodger. Moylan has yet to allow a run in six innings over seven appearances since joining the team.
  • Ethier went 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to five games, including two multi-hit games during that span. Ethier is hitting .400 (8-for-20) during the streak.
  • Kershaw was the first Dodgers pitcher to walk twice in a game since Eric Stults on Apr. 24, 2009.
  • Pedro Alvarez was 0-for-4 with a strikeout against Kershaw and Paco Rodriguez, and in his career against Dodgers left-handed pitchers Alvarez is 0-for-21 with 17 strikeouts.
  • Kershaw lasted seven innings, the ninth time in his last 10 starts and 12th time in 15 starts this season he has done so.
  • In addition to leading the National League with a 1.84 ERA and tying Jeff Samardzija for the NL lead with 104 strikeouts, Kershaw is averaging 7.16 innings per start, one of four National League pitchers averaging at least seven innings per start, along with Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee and Jordan Zimmermann.
  • With the victory on Saturday, the Dodgers have won four of five games against the Pirates this season and have clinched the season series. The Dodgers have won the season series against the Pirates for each of the last 13 years, every season of PNC Park's existence.

Up next

The Dodgers look for a series win on Sunday with Zack Greinke on the mound. The Pirates will send former UCLA Bruins pitcher Gerrit Cole to the mound for his second major league start.

Saturday particulars

Home run: Travis Snider (3)

WP - Peter Moylan (1-0): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

LP - Vin Mazzaro (3-1): 1 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts

Sv - Brandon League (14): 1 IP, 2 hits

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