To say that the Pittsburgh Pirates are playing their worst baseball of the season would be an understatement. And it didn’t get any easier for the Bucs Wednesday night as they had the tough task of dealing with reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For a second consecutive night, the results weren’t pretty as the Pirates suffered a consecutive second bad defeat at the hands of the Dodgers, this time 9-3 at PNC Park.
However on this night, the Bucs may have lost more than a game as second baseman Neil Walker left the game in the top of the first with a dislocated finger
Wandy Rodriguez started for the Pirates and things didn’t go well, even though he wasn’t hit hard on the night. However at the end of the day, Rodriguez surrendered five runs and allowed 10 hits in 5.2 innings pitched.
That would be more than enough for Kershaw, who went eight solid innings, allowing three runs on six hits, striking out eight.
But the story of this home stand has been poor starting pitching and it continued with Rodriguez.
The Bucs actually tied the game at 1 on a Garrett Jones sacrifice fly in the second, but Rodriguez couldn’t keep the Dodgers off the board.
Juan Rivera put the Dodgers ahead 2-1 with a sac fly in the third and then Matt Kemp doubled in a pair in the fourth and scored the Dodgers fifth run on a double off the bat of Hanley Ramirez.
The Bucs cut the Dodgers lead down to 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Andrew McCutchen launched his 24th homer of the season to deep center field, but that would be as close as the Bucs would get.
The Dodgers broke the game wide open in the seventh when they scored four runs off Chris Resop.
The Pirates entered their longest home stand of the season with the best home record in the majors, but have gone only 3-7 so far, knocking them down to a tie for the final wild card spot in the National League.
However their chances of putting things together and getting hot again could be hard to do if Walker is forced to miss any significant time.
Notes: Pedro Alvarez is now 1-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against the Dodgers….Starling Marte had his roughest day as a Pirate, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts….McCutchen’s 24th homer is a new career high….Juan Cruz also showed signs of being injured once again, but remained in the game to throw a perfect eighth inning….The Bucs were out hit 15-6…..The Dodgers have won 15 of their past 17 games against the Pirates….Gaby Sanchez was the only other bright spot on the night, doubling twice.
Winning Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (11-6)
Losing Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez (7-12)
MVP: Kershaw 8.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 8 K
LVP: Pedro Alvarez, 0-for-4, 4 K
Play of the Game: Matt Kemp’s two-out, two-run double in the fourth gave the dodgers all the breathing room they would need as Rodriguez couldn’t get out of another jam without damage.
Home Runs: McCutchen (24)
Up Next: Thursday, August 16 at 4:05 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Probable Starters: Joe Blanton (8-10, 4.61 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (14-4, 3.32)