Dana Eveland welcomed himself to the Dodgers with a completely unexpected performance, pitching eight strong innings to beat the Pirates 6-4 at PNC Park. It was the fourth straight win for the Dodgers, who have won nine of their last 10 games.
Eveland was signed to a minor league deal in November and in his last 200 major league innings had 109 walks and 117 strikeouts. He pitched well enough for Triple A Albuquerque this season -- a 4.38 ERA in 25 starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League -- but I don't think anyone saw an outing like today coming.
Eveland threw 99 pitches over eight innings, allowing just one run on six hits. He kept the Pirates off balance all day, induced 10 groundouts to just five flyouts, and struck out three while not walking a batter. Eveland is the 15th different Dodgers pitcher to win a game this season.
Eveland got run support early, in the form of three singles and a sacrifice fly to plate three runs before he even had a chance to take the mound. The Dodgers added a run in the seventh when James Loney, who had two hits, scored from third on a wild pitch, a play in which Matt Kemp advanced all the way to third from first base. Kemp also recorded his 36th stolen base of the season, in the first inning.
Really, the only bad thing Eveland did today was prevent Dee Gordon from getting a triple in top of the eighth inning. Not that it could be held against Eveland. The fact that Eveland was on base at all, courtesy of an eight-pitch walk off Chris Resop to load the bases, was a huge plus. Eveland had one hit and one walk in 21 career plate appearances before that walk. It was followed by a line drive to right field by Gordon, one that almost certainly would have been a triple had a pitcher not been at the base directly in front of him.
Gordon had two hits in his first game back from the disabled list. A.J. Ellis added two hits of his own, and a walk.
After Blake Hawksworth allowed a single and a home run to the first two batters of the ninth inning, Kenley Jansen came in to try and restore order. Jansen allowed a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly for a run, but got the final three outs, including the final two by strikeout. I incorrectly thought Jansen wouldn't get a save because he didn't begin the inning, but since he did pitch one full inning (he entered with no outs) he got the save. My bad.
The Dodgers open a weekend series in Atlanta on Friday night. Chad Billingsley starts the opener, facing Brandon Beachy.
WP - Dana Eveland (1-0): 8 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 3 strikeouts
LP - Brad Lincoln (1-1): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (3): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts