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Dodgers fall behind early, often in wild loss to Pirates

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Justin K. Aller

In a game the Dodgers were playing from behind all night, their comeback attempt fell short, dropping the middle game of their series 12-7 to the Pirates on Tuesday night at PNC Park.

The contest featured five home runs and four hit by pitches, and a pair of two-run deficits erased by the Dodgers. Los Angeles then cut a four-run deficit to a single run in the eighth, but the Pirates blew the game open thanks to a wild Chris Perez with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Josh Beckett, who last pitched on July 6, missed the minimum 15 days on the disabled list with a left hip impingement, but he was quite rusty in his return on Tuesday. He allowed solo home runs to Neil Walker and Ike Davis in the second inning, then after the Dodgers tied the game in the top of the third Beckett allowed another solo home run to Gregory Polanco in the third inning.

Travis Snider followed with a single and scored on a double by Walker, giving Pittsburgh a 4-2 advantage. Beckett was lifted with just two outs in the fourth, allowing four runs on six hits (five for extra bases) in his shortest outing of the season.

The Dodgers were able to tie the game in the sixth inning thanks to a pair of singles by Carl Crawford and Juan Uribe, helped when a throwing error by third baseman Josh Harrison put both runners in scoring position. A.J. Ellis followed with a two-run single to knot the game at 4-4

Paul Maholm was able to help bridge the gap after Beckett's early departure, retiring the first four batters he faced, but Russell Martin and Davis opened the sixth inning with singles to chase Maholm from the game.

Jamey Wright, pitching in his first game in 11 days, entered in relief and got the first two outs with a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, but then things broke bad for the right-hander. Wright walked Gaby Sanchez to load the bases, then allowed singles to Polanco and Snider for three runs and a 7-4 Pittsburgh lead. Wright then hit Andrew McCutchen and threw a wild pitch, giving the Pirates an 8-4 lead.

Justin Wilson threw inside to leadoff man Justin Turner to open the top of the seventh, and just in case retaliation was in question Wilson removed all doubt by hitting Turner on the next pitch. Home plate umpire Toby Basner immediately ejected Wilson, and after a few moments of arguing tossed Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, too.

That brought Jared Hughes in to pitch, and Adrian Gonzalez greeted him immediately with a two-run shot to right center field to cut the deficit to 8-6. It was the first home run for Gonzalez since July 1, and the first by any Dodger since July 9.

Between the home run by Miguel Rojas in Detroit on July 9 and Gonzalez's shot in the seventh inning Tuesday night, the Dodgers went eight full games and 335 plate appearances without one.

After struggling in the sixth inning, Wright remained in the game to pitch the seventh, and opened the inning by hitting Russell Martin, though with a curveball, the second time in the game Martin was hit by a breaking pitch. Wright escaped the inning without any damage, much to the chagrin of a booing Pittsburgh crowd, but was all over the place on Tuesday, throwing 14 balls and 17 strikes in his two innings.

Wright in his last three appearances, dating back to July 8, has allowed eight runs on eight hits in 4⅔ innings, with four walks and four strikeouts, and has allowed three of four inherited runners to score during that span.

Scott Van Slyke batted for Wright in the eighth inning, and crushed a pitch from Tony Watson into the left field seats to cut the deficit to 8-7. It was the Dodgers' first pinch-hit home run of the season, and the team's first multi-homer game since July 4 in Colorado.

Perez got the first out of the eighth inning, but then walked the next four in a row to give the Pirates a 9-7 lead. A pair of hits against Brandon League cashed in the other three walks and provided the final margin.

The last Dodgers reliever to walk four batters in a game was Ramon Ortiz on April 23, 2010. The last Dodgers reliever to do so in a single inning was Rule 5 pick Jose Antonio Nunez on May 5, 2001.

The last Dodgers reliever to walk four straight batters though was Jesse Orosco, in the 11th inning on Sept. 28, 1988 in San Diego. Orosco walked Tim Flannery, Tony Gwynn, Carmelo Martinez (intentionally) and Marvell Wynne in succession, but thanks to pinch runner Bip Roberts getting caught stealing Orosco didn't allow a run.

That game happened to be the same game in which Orel Hershiser pitched 10 shutout innings to extend his scoreless streak to an MLB record 59 consecutive innings. So at least there is that.

Up next

The Dodgers and Pirates play the rubber game of their three-game series on Wednesday night, with Dan Haren starting the finale for Los Angeles. Pittsburgh will turn to Francisco Liriano.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: Adrian Gonzalez (15), Scott Van Slyke (9); Neil Walker (15), Ike Davis (6), Gregory Polanco (4)

WP - Vance Worley (3-1): 6 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

LP - Paul Maholm (1-5): 1⅓ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs