LOS ANGELES -- Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez combined to spell doom for the Dodgers, who couldn't score more than two runs against Edinson Volquez in a 5-3 loss to the Pirates on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium.
Zack Greinke battled in the first inning, mostly with the strike zone. He threw 27 pitches, just 13 for strikes, and one of those strikes was nearly hit out of the park by Andrew McCutchen, who settled for a two-out double off the wall. Greinke then walked Ike Davis and Russell Martin to load the bases for Pedro Alvarez.
The Dodgers shifted the infield playing the left-handed Alvarez to pull, but he grounded a fastball away through the vacated hole at shortstop for a two-run single.
"I like the shift, for the most part," Greinke said. "If you look at Alvarez, if you throw the ball a couple inches off the plate away, he still pulls the ball for the most part. A lot of times you shift guys when they do that, no matter what. I'm a big fan of the shift, when it goes by what the data shows."
The Dodgers got on the board in the second inning when Matt Kemp drove a ball down the right field line for a ground rule double, then scored on a single to center field by Justin Turner.
McCutchen his next time up made sure he didn't have to settle, hitting one well over the fence in right center field in the third inning for his fifth home run of the season, for a 3-1 Pirates lead.
"The key was McCutchen pretty much got three runs on his own," Greinke said. "He was tough to stop."
Turner continued his hot hitting in the fourth inning, drilling a ball to left center field for his third home run of the year to pull the Dodgers within 3-2. Turner began the year with no home runs and four doubles in his first 30 games, hitting .218. In his nine games since, Turner is 11-for-29 (.379) with three home runs, three doubles and seven runs batted in.
Turner has scored at least one run in each of his last eight starts, the longest streak by a Dodger this season, and the longest since Yaseil Puig had an eight-game streak from June 27 to July 5 last year.
In the sixth inning McCutchen drilled a double down the left field line, then advanced to third on a fly ball to left center when Kemp hesitated with his throw to third. He scored on another single by Alvarez, giving the Bucs a 4-2 advantage.
"The first pitch I threw, the double off the wall, was a bad pitch," Greinke recalled. "In his third at-bat I threw my best ground ball pitch just because I wanted to keep it from getting in the air, and he put it in the air still. He just had my number today."
For good measure, McCutchen even robbed Drew Butera of a hit with a great sliding catch in shallow center in the seventh inning.
Chris Perez relieved Greinke in the seventh inning and with one out nearly gave up a Loge-level shot down the left field line to Josh Harrison, but it was just foul. The next pitch from Perez, however, was hit quite fair, this time over the wall in right center field for a 5-2 Pirates lead.
Perez has allowed four home runs this season, most by a Dodgers reliever, and all have come in his last six outings.
"[Perez] threw the ball really good early [in the season]. We feel like he'll get back to that," said manager Don Mattingly. "The velocity is there, it's just a matter of getting the ball where he needed to get it to. To me, he threw the ball well tonight except for that one pitch. He bounced back. We still feel like his stuff is good."
Perez also struck out McCutchen on three pitches. Baseball.
Two walks and an RBI single by Scott Van Slyke brought the Dodgers to within 5-3 and put the tying runs on base with two outs against Jason Grilli, but Dee Gordon lined out to end the game.
Puig doubled and singled in four trips to the plate, extending his streak of reaching base to 33 straight games, tied with Mike Napoli for the second-longest streak in baseball this season.
McCutchen is the third player to have three extra-base hits in a game at Dodger Stadium this year, joining Hanley Ramirez (April 6) and Carlos Ruiz (April 21).
Kemp struck out against Pirates reliever Justin Wilson in the sixth inning, extending his slump against left-handers to 0-for-17. On the season against southpaws, Kemp is 8-for-56 (.143).
Butera threw out Ike Davis trying to steal second base in the eighth inning. In three games behind the plate in the series against the Pirates, Butera threw out all three runners trying to steal second base and picked off another.
The Dodgers welcome the White Sox to town for three games starting Monday night. Clayton Kershaw starts the opener for the Dodgers, with Jose Quintana starting for Chicago in a battle of southpaws. A pair of old friends in the White Sox bullpen are excited for the trip to Los Angeles to see their former teammates.
Home runs: Justin Turner (3); Andrew McCutchen (5), Josh Harrison (4)
WP - Edinson Volquez (3-4): 5 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Zack Greinke (8-2): 6 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Jason Grilli (8): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts