7th inning rally dooms League, Dodgers

Stephen Dunn

LOS ANGELES -- Three two-out hits in the seventh inning doomed Brandon League and the Dodgers on Thursday night, breaking a tie and propelling the Pirates to a 6-3 win at Dodger Stadium in the opener of a four-game weekend series.

The loss snapped two streaks.

The Dodgers had beaten the Pirates in nine straight games at Dodger Stadium before Thursday, with their last win in Los Angeles coming on Sept. 15, 2011.

League hadn't given up a run in 10 straight appearances, dating back to May 3, but in addition to coming in mostly low-leverage appearances, included just four strikeouts in his last 37 batters faced entering Thursday. The streak, and the game, came crashing down in the seventh.

Clint Barmes singled with one out and was sacrificed to second by pitcher Gerrit Cole, then the merry-go-round began. Josh Harrison singled to center to score Barmes and give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Andre Ethier's throw home allowed Harrison to reach second, which proved costly when Neil Walker singled him home. After a walk to Andrew McCutchen, League was lifted from the game.

"I'll have to look at the video tomorrow to see what was wrong, whether my sinker wasn't sinking or location. I had to come with all fastballs, and one split," League said. "I have to do better at mixing my pitches."

Paul Maholm allowed a double to Gaby Sanchez to make it 6-3, and the damage was done.

League entered the game with a career-high 75.3-percent ground ball rate, but couldn't get one when he needed it on Thursday.

"That's most of my success. I don't strikeout a lot of guys, pitch to contact. Tonight I fell behind a little bit, but still I have to try and get a ground ball. I felt like I was throwing the ball where I wanted to, they were just not putting it on the ground."

League's streaks were 13 innings without a run and 22 innings without an earned run.

"It's nice to know your manager keeps running you back out there regardless of results. In the end, you still have to get the job done, whether you're on a one-inning scoreless streak or 50 innings," League said. "It's frustrating even though it's been a while, but the main goal is to win."

"I think we do have to allow him a hiccup now and then when he's pitched this well," manager Don Mattingly said.

Cole, pitching in his first game in Los Angeles since leaving UCLA, lasted into the seventh inning for the win.

Dan Haren allowed a pair of home runs, to Pedro Alvarez in the second inning and to Russell Martin in the sixth, continuing a downward trend. The right-hander allowed two home runs in his first seven starts, but has allowed six home runs in his last four outings.

Still, being Haren, he managed to last six innings again, as he has in 10 of 11 starts this season (his other start was 5⅔ innings). Haren leads the club with nine quality starts, though four of those included three earned runs allowed (like tonight's six-inning, three-earned-run performance) and two more were aided by unearned runs.

Ethier in the first inning hit his second triple in three days with one out, giving the Dodgers their fifth triple at Dodger Stadium in 26 games in 2014, matching their home total for all of last year. Yasiel Puig followed with a pop fly that fell in right field, allowing Ethier to score as Puig hustled to second with a double.

It was one of two doubles for Puig on the night, extending his streak of reaching base to 30 games, the longest active streak in baseball. He also made a tremendous catch in the eighth inning in foul territory, crashing into the side wall as he retired Barmes.

Puig is hitting an absurd .410/.508/.770 in May.

Dee Gordon, in addition to his fine double play in the fourth inning, drove in a run with a single and stole two bases, matching his career high with 32 stolen bases.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Pedro Alvarez (10), Russell Martin (3)

Stolen bases: Dee Gordon 2 (32), Hanley Ramirez (4)

WP - Gerrit Cole (5-3): 6⅓ IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

LP - Brandon League (1-2): ⅔ IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk

Sv - Jason Grilli (6): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout

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