Pirates swept in series against Dodgers with 6-2 loss
April 8, 2013 3:15 AM
Reed Saxon/Associated Press
Pirates catcher Michael McKenry watches as the Dodgers' Matt Kemp crosses the plate to score on an Adrain Gonzalez base hit in the first inning.
Reed Saxon/Associated Press
Pirates catcher Michael McKenry leaps in surprise after striking out against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning Sunday in Los Angeles.
By Bill Brink Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
LOS ANGELES -- It didn't matter how many punches Jeff Locke dodged Sunday afternoon.
Hard-hit outs, rally-stifling double plays and nice defensive work limited the impact the Los Angeles Dodgers had on Locke, but they inflicted enough. The Pirates offense awoke, but only briefly, and the Dodgers completed a series sweep.
The Pirates scored their first runs since Thursday, but lost, 6-2, to the Dodgers Sunday at Dodger Stadium. They move onto their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix with a 1-5 record.
Locke (0-1) allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings in his first start of the season. Most of those hits were well-struck.
Pirates vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field, Phoenix.
Rodriguez vs. Martin Prado, who is 6 for 20 against Rodriguez in his career.
Rodriguez has a 4.34 ERA in five career starts in Arizona.
The top of the Dodgers order did most of the damage. Carl Crawford, Nick Punto, Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez combined to go 8 for 12 with five runs scored and two walks.
"I think there were some sequences that we could have executed better, that would have given us a better chance to get outs instead of leaving balls in the spots that we know they're kind of accomplished with," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Crawford went 2 for 4 with two runs, Punto went 2 for 2 and Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with four RBIs.
The Pirates took an early lead in the first, but the Dodgers evened the score in the bottom half with three consecutive hits. Punto singled and Kemp doubled before Gonzalez's grounder up the middle tied the score at 2-2.
"If there's anything that stands out in my head [Sunday], it's just the double to Kemp," Locke said. "That was a pitch that he wasn't supposed to get a bat on at all, and he did. You just got to be a little bit better than that, and a little bit more aggressive."
Kemp gave the Dodgers the lead in the third. Crawford doubled off the wall in left-center field. Punto's sacrifice bunt moved Crawford to third, and Kemp's sacrifice fly to right scored Crawford.
Locke allowed a run in the fifth, but avoided what could have been much greater damage. Crawford and Punto singled, putting two on with no outs for Kemp, but Kemp grounded into a double play. Gonzalez singled to left to put the Dodgers up, 4-2, but Starling Marte threw Gonzalez out at second when he tried to stretch the hit into a double and the inning ended.
In the sixth, Jerry Hairston Jr. lined out sharply to left field. Marte then caught Juan Uribe's long fly ball at the wall in left field, which might not have cleared the wall but certainly would have gone for extra bases.
"He bent, he really didn't break," Hurdle said of Locke. "The fastball command wasn't as sharp as we saw in his last two outings of spring, and the mix wasn't as sharp."
Andrew McCutchen drove in the Pirates' first runs since Thursday in the first. After Starling Marte singled to lead off the game, McCutchen hit a 1-1 fastball off Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu out to left field for the Pirates' first home run of the season.
The Pirates were the final major league team to hit a home run.
After allowing McCutchen's home run, Ryu limited the Pirates to one hit -- a bunt single by Marte -- for the rest of his outing. He allowed two runs in 61/3 innings, walking two and striking out six.
"He probably started to utilize more of his off-speed [pitches], throw his off-speed a little more, but not to the extent that it was so much where we had to make an adjustment," McCutchen said.
"He got a couple balls up [in the first] and they got squared up pretty good," Hurdle said. "Then we got two hits the next 22 batters. He mixed it up, the big curveball came into play.
"He got ahead of people. That first inning, he was behind a couple guys."
Chris Leroux allowed a home run to Justin Sellers in the seventh, then walked two to bring Gonzalez to the plate with two outs. Gonzalez singled to drive in his fourth run of the game.
The Diamondbacks, the Pirates' next opponent, are 5-1 after their first two series. They hit .286 and scored 29 runs as a team before a series finale Sunday at Milwaukee.