In a face-punchingly frustrating game, the Dodgers lost 6-5 on Saturday, dropping their second game to the Pirates in as many days at PNC Park.
The Dodgers were able to have their way with Pirates starter Francisco Liriano, knocking him out after four runs and a whopping 79 pitches in just three innings.
After scoring single runs in the first two innings, Kike Hernandez launched a two-run home run to center field, his 12th extra-base hit in 57 plate appearances against left-handed pitching this season.
But that Hernandez home run only tied the game for the Dodgers, because Mat Latos in his second start as a Dodger was even worse than Liriano. Latos allowed six runs on seven hits in his four innings of work, with the crushing blow a two-out, three-run home run to the opposite field in left by Liriano.
It was the first extra-base hit in 172 career plate appearances for Liriano, who was 3-for-40 with 19 strikeouts and no walks this season entering Saturday.
Latos threw 78 pitches in his four innings, walking one but striking out none. Latos has struck out one of his 42 batters faced as a Dodger, and that batter was Mike Trout.
Perhaps adding to the frustration was the Dodgers on the wrong side of four different replay reviews, and not getting an out on batters interference by Andrew McCutchen in the first inning because his back swing hitting catcher A.J. Ellis was said to be unintentional. That was almost certainly the right call, but it doesn't make it any easier for the Dodgers to take.
Then, after the wildness of the first three frames, when each side scored at least once in every half-inning, the Dodgers were held scoreless by Joe Blanton for three innings.
In another narrative-flipping contrast, the Dodgers bullpen — Pedro Baez, Luis Avilan and even Joel Peralta — pitched four scoreless innings of their own.
Down two, the Dodgers even rallied in the ninth inning against closer Mark Melancon, but even that was frustrating. Howie Kendrick opened with a single and scored on a double by Scott Van Slyke, but in between was a ball smoked to left field by Adrian Gonzalez — who had three hits on the day — but it was caught by Starling Marte in left for the first out.
Yasiel Puig followed with a ground ball to third base, but was ruled safe when Sean Rodriguez's foot appeared to come off the bag. But upon further review, the call was overturned, the fourth time the Dodgers found themselves on the wrong side of a replay call.
Joc Pederson walked, putting the tying and go-ahead runs on base with two outs, but Yasmani Grandal struck out to end he game.
Alex Wood makes his second start as a Dodger in the series finale on Sunday night, facing off against Charlie Morton for the Pirates on ESPN.
Home runs: Kiké Hernandez (4); Francisco Liriano (1), Neil Walker (11)
WP - Joe Blanton (3-2): 3 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP - Mat Latos (4-8): 4 IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk
Sv - Mark Melancon (35): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout