Ross Ohlendorf made the case for the rotation in 2012 (there will be a lot to sort through Spring Training) with a fantastic seven inning effort. The Pirates batted around in a four run second with Ohlendorf poking his first homer and accounting for three of the tallies.
It looked troublesome early on for Ohlendorf. Los Angeles was up 1-0 after their first two hitters came to the plate. Dee Gordon singled and swiped second. A ground rule double from Justin Sellers brought him in. But Ohlendorf retired Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera and James Loney without another scratch.
The Bucs did a bunch of two out damage in the top of the second off of Dana Eveland. Ryan Doumit singled with one out. With two outs Ryan Ludwick doubled him to third. Brandon Wood lined a single into left field to score Doumit and knot it at one. Ohlendort popped the first pitch he saw to the opposite field and over the fence for a three run homer. The misery continued for Eveland as Alex Presley singled and he plunked Chase d’Arnaud. After a double steal put those runners in scoring position, he struck out Andrew McCutchen to end the inning.
Russell Mitchell led off the fifth with a solo homer. Tim Federowicz followed with a single. He was erased on a fielder’s choice from Gordon, who advanced to second on an errant double play relay from d’Arnaud on the play. But Sellers popped out to end the inning. Los Angeles wouldn’t get another runner to second until the ninth.
In the meantime Pittsburgh tacked on two more runs in the eighth off Matt Guerrier with Doumit and Ludwick contributed RBI knocks.
Jason Grilli relieved Ohlendorf for the eighth and gave way to Evan Meek in the ninth. He got two quick outs and then ran into trouble. Jerry Sands singled. Mitchell walked. Federowicz walked. Joel Hanrahan was summoned to get the final out. He did so but getting a fly ball from Aaron Miles to end it.
Ohlendorf allowed four hits and two runs in seven solid innings. He struck out six. He walked none. He needed just 72 pitches to go seven innings. He recorded 52 strikes. Eveland was pulled after five innings of four run baseball. He yielded eight hits and a walk. He whiffed six. Hanrahan got his 38th save for his work in the ninth.
Ohlendorf. This wasn’t exactly the best team that the Dodgers can field on a given night (Andre Ethier is out and a number of second stringers got a look), but I will take it as a great sign of renewed life in his arm.
McCutchen, Doumit, Ludwick and Wood each had two hits.
Meek’s shaky ninth.
Eveland won his previous two starts, including one agaisnt Pittsburgh back on 9/1/11. Ohlendorf came into this game 0-1 in two prior starts against LA.
The homer and the RBIs were the first of Ohlendorf’s career. Last Bucco pitcher to homer was Paul Maholm on 5/9/09 in a loss to the Mets. Ohlendorf joins Jim Bibby (8/27/79) and Vern Law (9/16/64) as the only Pirates pitchers to homer in Dodger Stadium.
Ohlendorf has not won consecutive starts since 8/11 to 8/18 in 2009. The six whiffs equaled a season high and the seven innings are a season high for him.
As far as I can tell, Dodger rookie outfielder Jerry Sands is no relation to former Bucco back up catcher Charlie Sands.
LA catcher Federowicz collected his first Major League hit.
Wood had been in a 6-45 slump before his two hits in this game.
Caught a good chunk of this game on my drive last night. Vin Scully went on for several minutes about how smart Ohlendorf is. I don’t know that I had ever had a chance to listen to Scully call a game on the radio. I believe I’ve only heard him on TV.