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Dodgers somehow walk-off Pirates

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers
Ross Stripling scores game-winning runs.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — What a weird game!

A contest that was shaping up to be a celebration for the Dodgers nearly ended up a disappointing, craw-sticking loss, but a pair of Dodgers rallies turned the tide in their favor, capturing a 4-3 win over the Pirates in 10 innings on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Yasmani Grandal started the 10th inning with a single, then pinch-run for by pitcher Ross Stripling. a Two outs later, Austin Barnes doubled to the right center field gap to score the game-winner.

“The coaches were joking with me, because I told Ross at about 3 o’clock today that he was going to be pinch running,” manager Dave Roberts said, smiling. “He’s been stretching for about 7½ hours.”

“I spent the whole time in the dugout, the whole game,” Stripling said. “It’s like he knew something was coming.”

Stripling has been used as a.pinch runner twice this season. He has scored the game-winning run both times.

“I think everyone was worried I missed third, but I knew I hit it,” Stripling said.

Stripling is the first Dodgers pitcher to score twice as a pinch runner in a season since Don Sutton in 1970.

The 10th-inning rally made a winner out of Kenley Jansen, who struck out two in a perfect top of the frame. Jansen has 22 strikeouts in his last 33 batters faced.

Forcing extras

Down a run in the ninth inning, the Dodgers got consecutive singles by Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger with one out to tie the game against Pirates closer Tony Watson, who nearly went full Fernando Rodney on a comebacker to the mound but instead turned an inning-ending double play to send the game into extra innings.

John Jaso hit a pinch-hit home run off Pedro Baez in the eighth inning, just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig in right field, breaking the tie that was forged one inning earlier.

The kid

Julio Urias stymied the Pirates in the best start of his major league career, venturing into uncharted waters along the way. Urias took a no-hitter and a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning, the first time as a professional he has been allowed to pitch past the sixth inning in a start.

The 20-year-old left-hander allowed a leadoff double in the seventh to Andrew McCutchen — a fly ball into the left field corner that was nearly caught by Andrew Toles — and one out later was done for the night. Urias struck out five and walked two in his 6⅓ innings, a new career high, then received a standing ovation as he left the game.

Urias’ start came 370 days after the he pitched six scoreless, hitless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City in a start just three weeks before his major league debut.

McCutchen would eventually score with two outs, thanks to a horrific misplay by Kike Hernandez in left field, completely whiffing on a catch on a ball that was ruled a double for Francisco Cervelli. A flare single to short left field by Max Moroff scored Cervelli, tying the game just minutes after Urias left.

Toles crashed into the short wall in left field on the McCutchen double, and had to leave the game.

Grandal goes deep

Grandal led all major league catchers in home runs and walks in 2016, but entered Tuesday hitting .225/.307/.382 with three home runs and 11 walks in 27 games.

“I think he’s too aggressive,” Roberts said before Tuesday’s game. “Yasmani against right-handed pitching, he’s one of the best at conducting an at-bat when he’s right, at taking balls and swinging at strikes.

“What he has a tendency to do is scare pitchers out of the strike zone. Right now, he’s overly aggressive, they’re not throwing strikes, and he’s swinging at them.”

Entering Monday, Grandal swung at 31.7% of pitches outside the strike zone this season, per PITCHf/x, well above his 24.8% career mark.

“I talked to Yasi today, to just continue to be able to run counts, and get pitches elevated,” Roberts said.

After laying off a pair of pitches outside the strike zone from Nova in the fourth inning, Grandal got an elevated pitch in the happy part of the strike zone, and deposited it into the right field pavilion for a 2-0 Dodgers lead.

Grandal ended his night 3-for-5.

Rallies thwarted

The Dodgers got a leadoff double off the wall in right center field from Chase Utley to start the seventh inning, just the sixth hit in 62 at-bats this season for the veteran. But they were unable to score in the inning.

Grandal nearly hit his second home run of the night in the eighth inning, a drive to the wall in right field that would have tied the score, but instead it fell into the waiting glove of Gregory Polanco.

A double by Chris Taylor with two outs in the eighth inning provided another scoring chance, aided when Puig reached on a passed ball after a strikeout. That brought up pinch-hitter Franklin Gutierrez, who has a 153 wRC+ and 21 home runs in 348 plate appearances against southpaws since the start of 2015.

Pirates manager turned to Watson, a left-hander, to replace right-handed Juan Nicasio, and the move worked out, with Watson striking out Gutierrez to end the threat.

More weirdness

Urias entered Tuesday with an uncharacteristic eight walks in two starts this season, while Nova had four total walks in his 17 starts with the Pirates. So in the first inning, naturally, the first walk of the game was issued by Nova, to Justin Turner.

Nova ended up with two walks on the night, one more than he has in his first six starts of the season. It was the first time he walked more than one batter in 18 starts since joining the Pirates.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: Yasmani Grandal (4); John Jaso (2)

WP - Kenley Jansen (2-0): 1 IP, 1 strikeout

LP - Daniel Hudson (0-2): ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts