In an uncommon situation, the Dodgers were swept by a rebuilding team, at home. The Pirates already won the first series between the two In Pittsburgh, and a Los Angeles team coming off four straight wins dropped three in a row to the visitors.
The first two games were close, but the Pirates piled on Wednesday, winning 8-4 at Dodger Stadium.
This was the first sweep against the Dodgers in Los Angeles since August 2018 against the Cardinals. But regardless of how frustrating you thought this game could’ve been, it was worse.
On the mound, you could argue that the advantage lay with the Pirates, which is not what you would normally expect between these two teams and a big contrast with what we saw in the first two games. Mitch White took the hill for a spot start, the third of the year for him against José Quintana, who’s flourished over his first 46 innings in 2022.
Quintana’s strikeout rate is down, but he's pitched to the tune of a 2.15 ERA with a .215 opponents’ average heading into tonight’s outing, and he had success against the Dodgers when they traveled to Pittsburgh earlier in the year, picking up the first win of the season by a Pirates starter on May 9 at PNC Park.
The Pirates wasted no time jumping on White as three of the first four hitters reached base safely in the top of the first. Josh VanMeter drove in Ke’Bryan Hayes with an RBI single. White did however limit what could’ve been a big inning, stranding two runners with a flyout and groundout from Diego Castillo and Cal Mitchell, respectively.
Things remained quiet until the bottom of the fourth when Chris Taylor drove in Trea Turner to tie the score, but the rest of the game went just about as the series has gone. White was having a rather clean outing after trouble in the first, but Bryan Reynolds had other plans with a two-run bomb with two outs in the fifth.
The Dodgers starter would leave the game after five innings with the following stat line:
- 4 hits
- 3 earned runs
- 2 walks
- 7 strikeouts
Quintana got hit around with seven hard-hit balls in four and a third but managed to keep the Dodgers at bay allowing only a couple of runs.
Kevin Pillar tweaked his shoulder in the bottom of the fifth and was replaced by Cody Bellinger in center field. Chris Taylor moved over to left field.
Pillar won’t play on Thursday as the team awaits testing.
Roberts said Kevin Pillar’s shoulder popped in and out twice in the game. He’ll be out tomorrow and get scans. Pillar has had the issue in the past.— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) June 2, 2022
The Pirates flashed some outstanding glove work on multiple occasions. Diego Castillo made a heads-up play to get the force out at third on a sharp grounder from Mookie Betts, and Hayes threw out Hanser Alberto on another grounder and got back to pick the throw at third and get Taylor as well.
Ke'Bryan Hayes starts AND finishes both ends of this double play! pic.twitter.com/rw1dI2jkaR— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 2, 2022
The Hayes double play was all the more important as Austin Barnes singled in the following at-bat, and that could’ve meant a run for the Dodgers without Hayes’ glovework. But instead there was no one on, and the Pirates brought in a lefty, Dillon Peters, to strikeout Cody Bellinger.
On a day where Craig Kimbrel was unavailable, the Dodgers had to bridge four innings with the bullpen, and Evan Phillips continued his excellent run of form this season with two scoreless innings, capped by back-to-back strikeouts looking against Hayes and Reynolds.
Once again the Dodgers found themselves behind late in a closely contested game against these pesky Pirates.
After striking out Bellinger, Peters came back in to face Gavin Lux, and couldn’t find the zone allowing a four-pitch walk, Mookie Betts followed it with a single and advanced to second on the throw to third. The Dodgers had second and third with no outs, but you already know the script.
Peters got Freeman to ground out, and the runners didn’t move with the infield in. Chris Stratton came in, and the top-shelf defensive work continued. Trea Turner hit one in the air to medium center, and Reynolds came in with a throw right on the money to get Lux tagging from third, an inning-ending double-play. The Dodgers had second and third with 2-3-4 in the order coming up and failed to score a single run.
Pittsburgh followed an incredible escape in the seventh by adding to its lead. The Pirates jumped on Alex Vesia with a two-run bomb by Rodolfo Castro that turned a close 3-2 affair into a 5-2 lead, and one step away from a sweep at Dodger Stadium.
Taylor got a single with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but any threat of a rally died very quickly as Edwin Ríos grounded into a double play on the first pitch of the following at-bat.
The capper to a frustrating game was the blow-up in the eighth inning when Michael Grove allowed three more runs. Any possibility of a comeback shrank significantly with an 8-2 deficit to overcome in the ninth.
Betts continued his incredible run with a two-run bomb in the bottom of the inning, but it was too little too late for a comeback.
The Dodgers outhit the Pirates 12 to nine in an 8-4 loss, and the sweep that nobody saw coming became a reality.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (16); Bryan Reynolds (8), Rodolfo Castro (1)
WP — Chase De Jong (2-0): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP — Mitch White (1-1): 5 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
The Dodgers continue this homestand welcoming in the NL East-leading Mets for a four-game series. It will be a battle for supremacy between the top two records in the National League. Tony Gonsolin takes the ball Thursday night (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA) against Taijuan Walker.