What a weird and angry game this was. The Dodgers came up just short in their effort to go undefeated in the state of Pennsylvania, dropping their finale to the Pirates at PNC Park 10-6 on Thursday afternoon.
The game featured several oddities. James Loney homered for the first time since May 21, snapping a string of 198 consecutive plate appearances and 67 games without a long ball. Adam Kennedy stole his first base of the year. Rod Barajas scored from first base on a ball hit to the gap. Joe Blanton walked four people for the first time all season.
After just one game with more than two walks this season with Philadelphia, Blanton has had games of three and now four walks since joining the Dodgers. And he was none too pleased about it on Thursday, getting tossed in the fifth inning by home plate umpire Angel Campos.
Blanton was staring down Campos, but the umpire wasn't the one who gave up three home runs, including a pair of three-run shots by superman Garrett Jones.
In seven games against the Dodgers this season, Jones hit .500/.500/1.056. That's 9-for-18 with four doubles, two home runs, and 10 runs batted in.
But that wasn't the only moment involving Campos, who also ejected Matt Kemp in the second inning, as Kemp was on the bench while Andre Ethier was batting. What made Kemp and manager Don Mattingly so irate, as both heartily argued their points while needing to be restrained, especially Kemp, was that the center fielder was kicked out for cheering his teammate.
"Guys were barking about pitches. Angel looked over and said, 'I don't want to hear anymore.' Just a little bit later, Matt said, 'Let's go Dre' and got thrown out," Mattingly said after the game. "We're in a pennant race. I got the guy that was second in the MVP last year. You can't get thrown out for cheering for your teammate. That's unacceptable behavior."
Mattingly has been ejected six times this season.
The Dodgers were able to withstand the first three-run home run by Jones, even taking the lead at one point, on a two-run home run by Hanley Ramirez in the fourth inning.
But Ramirez did his "I see you" maneuver back to the dugout while rounding the bases on his home run, much to the rightful chagrin of A.J. Burnett, who does look like someone who looks for something to be mad at.
Burnett struck out Ramirez in his next at-bat to end the sixth inning, then stared at him as he walked back to the dugout, yelling, "Sit the f**k down, Sit down!" Only Ramirez noticed none of it, as he was busy voicing his displeasure at the strike zone of Campos. Join the club.
The bottom line is that it's quite difficult to win a game when allowing two three-run home runs. And on Thursday, the Dodgers didn't win. They have to settle for winning three of four in Pittsburgh, and a 6-1 record against the Pirates on the season.
The Dodgers move on to Atlanta, finishing up their 10-game road trip against the Braves. Chris Capuano starts for the Dodgers on Friday night, facing Tommy Hanson for the Braves.
Home Runs: James Loney (3), Hanley Ramirez (16); Garrett Jones 2 (19), Pedro Alvarez (22)
WP - A.J. Burnett (15-4): 6 2/3 IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Joe Blanton (8-11): 4 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 8 runs, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts