Hiroki Kuroda pitched six strong innings, and James Loney broke open a close game with a three-run home run in the sixth inning, giving the Dodgers a 7-2 win over the Pirates Friday night in the second of a four-game weekend set at Dodger Stadium. The win, coupled with the Atlanta Braves' loss at home to the New York Mets, postponed elimination for the Dodgers in the National League wild card race.
All the Dodgers have to do is win their final 11 games, have the Braves lose their final 11 contests, then at some point travel to Washington D.C. to make up their rain out with the Nationals. Win that game, then face the Braves in a one-game playoff for the wild card. I love it when a plan comes together.
Or they could be done tomorrow.
Dee Gordon had two singles, two stolen bases, and two runs scored, and Matt Kemp had a pair of hits himself, including a run-scoring single in the third inning for his 111th RBI of the season.
Jeff Locke was making just his second big league start tonight, and lasted just three innings.
Kuroda made his 112th big league start, and allowed just two runs in his six innings of work. He allowed an unearned run in the second inning when Gordon made an errant throw on what would have been an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play. Alex Presley hit is third home run of the season in the top of the sixth inning to pull the Pirates to within 3-2.
The Dodgers tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to three straight singles and a ground ball by Gordon. Right-hander Chris Resop was brought in to pitch for the Pirates, so Loney was tabbed to pinch hit for Justin Sellers. Loney hit a line drive off the top of the wall in right field that bounced over for a three-run shot and a 7-2 lead.
The three-run shot by Loney was the first pinch-hit home run of his career. Loney had been sent to the plate as a pinch hitter 43 previous times in his career, and he had just five hits, three walks, and three runs batted in.
Ted Lilly starts Saturday night for the Dodgers, facing old friend James McDonald.
WP - Hiroki Kuroda (12-16): 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Jeff Locke (0-2): 3 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks