Five-game run total stays at six after Dodgers shut out Pirates, 1-0


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LOS ANGELES -- The last thing the Pirates needed Saturday night was an ace lefty coming off a complete-game shutout on opening day.

That's the card they were dealt, though, and their run-scoring problems continued.

The Pirates lost, 1-0, to Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, leaving their five-game run total at six.

The Pirates have lost three consecutive games and haven't scored a run in the past two. They have a total of four hits in two games against the Dodgers, three walks and 21 strikeouts.

"You're going to have your ups and downs, absolutely," Gaby Sanchez said. "The biggest thing is to go out there and keep playing."

A.J. Burnett held the Dodgers in check with a dangerous curveball and changeup. Kershaw prevented the Pirates lineup from supporting him.

Kershaw (2-0) pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed two hits, walking one and striking out nine. He has not allowed a run in his first 16 innings this season.

"It was my first time pitching against him, my first time really seeing him," Burnett said. "It fires me up to be in a game like that."

Burnett is now 0-2 despite allowing four runs in 11 innings and striking out 19 batters in two starts this season.

"I don't worry about run support," he said. "That's beyond my control. That's when we get in trouble is when we start pointing fingers and start trying to make excuses and things like that."

Burnett's pitch count escalated and he struggled to control the running game, but for the most part he prevented the base-runners he did allow from scoring. He allowed one run on four hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out nine.

The Pirates entered the game ranked last in the National League in runs scored, batting average and on-base-plus slugging percentage.

Starling Marte reached base against Kershaw when he singled on the first pitch of the game. The Pirates surrendered one out on Neil Walker's sacrifice bunt, and Kershaw got another when Marte took off for third on Andrew McCutchen's ground ball to the left side of the infield and was out at third.

"That's a bad baseball decision," manager Clint Hurdle said.

After Carl Crawford walked to lead off the bottom of the first and stole second, Burnett struck out the next three batters.

Crawford reached base for the second time, and stole second for the second time, in the third. Clint Barmes dived for Crawford's line drive but trapped it, and did not attempt to throw out the speedy Crawford. Crawford stole second and Mark Ellis singled, scoring Crawford and giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Ellis stole second, the third successful steal against Burnett through three innings, but Burnett struck out Matt Kemp looking to end the inning.

Burnett walked Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the fourth and allowed a single to Andre Ethier, putting men on first and second with none out. A.J. Ellis grounded the first pitch he saw into a double play, and Burnett struck out Luis Cruz with a curveball in the dirt to end the inning.

After McCutchen reached on the fielder's choice in the first inning, Kershaw retired 15 consecutive batters. Marte broke the streak when he was called safe on an infield single with two outs in the sixth.

In the sixth, Burnett allowed a single to Gonzalez and walked Ethier before Hurdle replaced him with Jared Hughes. A.J. Ellis singled to load the bases with one out for Cruz, who popped out to short. Justin Sellers left the bases loaded when he grounded into a force-out, and the Dodgers did not score.

The Pirates gave Kershaw another out in the seventh. Russell Martin walked with two outs, but Kershaw picked him off first to end the inning.

"Those are mistakes you don't want to make when you're not swinging the bat," Hurdle said.

The Pirates will attempt to avoid a sweep -- and score their first run of the series -- today against Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Today

Game: Pirates at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m., Dodger Stadium.

TV, radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7.

Probables: LHP Jeff Locke (1-3, 5.50 ERA in 2012) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-1, 1.42 ERA).

Key matchup: The Pirates vs. Chavez Ravine, where they have lost their previous seven games.

Hidden stat: Locke has allowed nine home runs in 51 career innings in majors.

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Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published April 7, 2013 5:00 AM


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