The Pittsburgh Pirates have allowed 10 runs in five games to start their 2013 season. They have won once.
On Saturday night, it was Clayton Kershaw’s turn to shut down the tepid Bucs offense, limiting the visitors to two singles over seven innings in Los Angeles’ 1-0 win at Dodger Stadium. The Pirates, who were also shut out Friday in Los Angeles, have scored six runs in five games while remaining the only MLB team yet to homer.
At this point, the Pirates would settle for stringing together a couple infield hits, let alone driving one over the fence. Starling Marte had both Pittsburgh hits Saturday night, with walks by Neil Walker and Russell Martin providing the Bucs’ only other baserunners.
Kershaw was his typical brilliant self, striking out seven Pirates and never allowing a runner beyond second. Pittsburgh’s best chance to score against him came in the first, when Marte led off with a single and advanced to second on Walker’s bunt, but got thrown out trying to go to third on Andrew McCutchen’s ground ball to shortstop.
The Pirates’ offensive ineptitude made an undeserved loser of A.J. Burnett for the second time in six days. Burnett struck out nine – he now has 19 punchouts in two starts – which helped neutralize the four walks and four hits he surrendered.
Los Angeles (3-2) got the only run it needed when A.J Ellis drove in Carl Crawford with a two-out ground-ball single in the third, but Burnett hung in the game for 5 1/3 innings before Jared Hughes entered to escape a two-on, one-out jam. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson pitched a scoreless frame each to keep the Pirates in comeback range after Kershaw departed.
Dodgers relievers Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jensen and Brandon League teamed up to cover the final two innings. Walker’s two-out walk in the ninth gave McCutchen a chance to play hero, but his quick groundout to second gave Los Angeles the first two games of the series.
Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes and Jose Tabata went a combined 0 for 8 with seven strikeouts, while Gaby Sanchez (.077 batting average) and Martin (.176 on-base percentage) continued their invisible starts at the plate.
Adrian Gonzalez had the only extra-base hit of the pitching-dominated evening, stroking a double as part of his 2-for-3 night. Ellis also notched a pair of hits, as did Crawford.
The Pirates will try to salvage a game against the Dodgers on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. Eastern time, with Jeff Locke getting his first start of the season. Los Angeles’ rookie lefty Hyun Jin Ryu will oppose.