PITTSBURGH----Maybe it was running the bases in the top of the sixth or not having enough time to prepare to pitch. Whatever it was, Kenta Maeda's night ended after Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run home run to break a 1-1 tie and the Dodgers were never in the game after that.
But before the sixth inning, Maeda had held the Pirates to a run and two hits and had faced only three batters above the minimum.
Manager Dave Roberts was pleased with how Maeda looked for the first five innings.
"He was sharp, you really don't call it a mistake on the 3-2 breaking ball to McCutchen, not really giving in but giving up the homer, and we're right there 1-1," Roberts said, "He looked strong to me but then the start of the sixth inning, leadoff walk [to John Jaso], that's just something that can't happen."
Things went downhill fast after that walk.
"Marte puts a ball in play, fights off a two-strike pitch for a base hit," Roberts said, "Then the next thing you know, you have a homer. So it just really happened quickly and I thought Kenta was throwing well."
Kenta Maeda also thought the game was going well until he went out for what would be his final inning.
"I thought I did pretty well before the sixth inning," Maeda said through his translator, "I didn't start off well in the sixth, the walk, the base hit, and I couldn't control the damage."
On the walk, Maeda said that could have been caused from how the top of the inning ended.
"Nothing special against Jaso except that I was rushing to the mound after the base hit, after the end of the inning, and getting back to the mound, I should have taken my time a little bit and pitched the way that I do."
Catcher A.J. Ellis also spoke about the walk and the weather.
"Walking Jaso on four pitches, really nothing that close," said Ellis, "Maybe being on base, finishing on the bases not really getting in and getting that recovery, just speculating maybe that played a part in it.
"First game we really played in humidity like this, I don't know if he was drained or what was going on, but there was a little bit of a difference, in the sixth for sure. Finishing an inning on base, not having is in-between innings routine to get himself back out there, and in hindsight, I should have recognized it and given him a little bit more time. "
"I tried to do that after the first batter after the walk," said Ellis, "but I think at that point he was in the thick of it going against their best hitter Marte and the dangerous McCutchen behind him, tough spot right there."
The Dodgers and Pirates will play the Sunday Night Game of the Week, the nationally televised game on ESPN, at 5:08 p.m. PT. Clayton Kershaw will go for Dodgers against right-hander Chad Kuhl. The 23-year old Kuhl will be making his major league debut.