The Pirates again suffered at the hands of the home run.
They didn't allow one in the first inning, as they had in the previous four games, but Shane Victorino's homer in the fifth Monday night did the trick.
Victorino drove in three runs in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 5-4 victory against the Pirates at PNC Park. The Pirates have lost four of their past five games.
The Pirates fell five games back of the Cincinnati Reds, who were idle Monday, in the National League Central Division. The loss came against a team that the Pirates are battling for the second NL wild-card spot. The Pirates lead the Dodgers by 11/2 games.
Victorino doubled home a run in the third and hit a two-run homer in the fifth.
"It wasn't like I made a terrible pitch," said Jeff Karstens, who allowed the home run. "Sometimes you just got to tip your cap. He did a good job of staying on the pitch."
Victorino, a recent acquisition for the Dodgers, went 2 for 4 with two runs.
Juan Cruz walked two batters and hit another to load the bases in the eighth and the Dodgers scored another run, extending their lead to 5-2.
That run became important in the bottom of the inning. Andrew McCutchen reached on an infield single and Jones doubled, scoring McCutchen. Michael McKenry singled, scoring Jones and cutting the score to 5-4, but Clint Barmes grounded out to end the inning.
Garrett Jones had four hits for the Pirates, including two RBI doubles. Manager Clint Hurdle said the same principles that helped him begin to hit better -- staying tall at the plate, getting his hands out front -- have allowed him to maintain it.
Karstens (4-3) did not pitch poorly, allowing four runs in seven innings, but was the loser. He allowed seven hits, four of them for extra bases, and struck out four.
"He's still got a couple of things to work on," Hurdle said. "He went out there and gave it everything he got."
Dodgers starter Aaron Harang (8-7) allowed two third-inning runs but not much else. The Pirates only managed one hit against him in the final three innings he pitched. He went six innings.
A.J. Ellis doubled to the gap in right-center field to lead off the third. Harang sacrificed Ellis to third and Victorino doubled to score him. Karstens walked Mark Ellis to face Matt Kemp, who singled home a run.
Andre Ethier lined a hard shot to the warning track in right, but Jones made a leaping catch at the wall. He doubled off Kemp at first to end the inning, but the Dodgers led, 2-0.
"Look at the play he made in the outfield," Hurdle said. "Did you have that when the ball's off the bat?"
Jones is hitting .282. He was the only Pirates player Monday night with multiple hits.
Starling Marte singled and McCutchen walked in the third in front of Jones, who doubled down the right-field line. Marte scored easily, but Mark Ellis had a shot at McCutchen at the plate. Ellis' throw pulled catcher A.J. Ellis up the third-base line, and McCutchen scored to tie the score at 2-2.
In the fifth, Victorino fell behind Karstens, 0-2, then watched three consecutive balls. He hit the sixth pitch of the at-bat over the Clemente Wall for his 10th home run, scoring Harang and giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead.
The Pirates put two men on with two outs against Javy Guerra in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Josh Harrison walked and Marte reached on an error before Dodgers manager Don Mattingly replaced Guerra with Randy Choate. Neil Walker rocketed a line drive right back at Choate's head, but Choate caught it to end the inning.
• Game: Dodgers (Billingsley 8-9) vs. Pirates (Correia 9-6), 7:05 p.m.
• Where: PNC Park.
• TV: Root Sports.pirates