Dodgers defeat Pirates, 4-1

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LOS ANGELES -- The middle of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup did its job against the Pirates Wednesday night.

Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera each had three hits, and each scored a run that helped transform a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 Dodgers win against the Pirates at Dodger Stadium.

Kemp and Rivera went 3 for 4, and Rivera drove in two runs. Andre Ethier went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

The Pirates had only six hits in the game, and their bullpen surrendered four hits in the seventh inning that led to two runs. The Pirates have now scored nine runs in five games.

"We've got to do a better job of connecting the dots on offense," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Erik Bedard's outing was the first this season by a Pirates starter that lasted less than six innings. He pitched five-plus innings and allowed two runs on eight hits. His record fell to 0-2, but he has only allowed three runs in 12-plus innings.

"[The Dodgers] were up there battling, swinging, making contact, finding areas where we weren't. It's not like the game got away from him by any means," Hurdle said. "He just wasn't as sharp as he was the first [start]."

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley allowed one run in six innings and improved to 2-0. He has allowed one run in 14 1/3 innings over two starts this season.

"He's got good stuff and mixes balls up well," said Clint Barmes, who scored the only Pirates run on a home run in the third. "He commands both sides of the plate. When he's on and he's hitting his spots, he's definitely a very tough pitcher to hit."

The Dodgers took the lead in the sixth. Kemp singled, and Rivera reached on a dribbler of an infield single that glanced off Bedard's glove.

"It had a lot of spin on it," Bedard said. "I thought it was coming right at me, and then it bounced away and I missed it."

Ethier's line drive single to left field scored Kemp, and the Dodgers led, 2-1. Chris Resop replaced Bedard at that point.

Resop got two outs, Jerry Hairston on a sliding catch by Nate McLouth and Juan Uribe on a grounder, before intentionally walking A.J. Ellis to load the bases with two outs for the pitcher's spot. Lefty James Loney pinch-hit, and Hurdle countered with Tony Watson. Watson got Loney to pop out in foul territory and end the inning.

The Dodgers added two runs in the seventh. Dee Gordon doubled, went to third when the third strike to Kemp got away from Rod Barajas and scored on Rivera's third hit of the game, this one off Evan Meek. Ethier and pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. singled, with Gwynn's single scoring Rivera, and the Dodgers led, 4-1.

Meek allowed one run on three hits in an inning of work, but struck out two. Watson allowed a run on one hit in one-third of an inning.

"He comes in, he does a real good job the first two hitters he faces," Hurdle said of Meek. "I still see it getting better."

Barmes' first hit of the season was a home run, on the first pitch he saw from Billingsley in the third inning.

"I think he was trying just to basically get ahead," Barmes said. "It was one of those where I was ready to hit the first pitch. I got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it."

Three Pirates lined out hard to infielders. One of them, Neil Walker, also hit a hard liner that Kemp caught in the ninth.

The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half of the third. With two outs, Bedard walked Mark Ellis and Kemp reached on a ground-ball single up the middle. Rivera's single scored Ellis.

"The two-out walk to Ellis also challenged us early," Hurdle said.

Bedard regained control in the fourth and fifth, retiring the side in order twice. Billingsley gave one a ride to the warning track in right field in the fifth, but McLouth ran it down and made a tough catch, reaching back to his right as he was turned to his left tracking the ball.

McLouth and Andrew McCutchen hit back-to-back singles in the sixth. Walker lined out to shortstop, and Gordon flipped to Mark Ellis at second to double off McLouth and end the inning.



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