Some clutch pitching and timely hitting mixed with some defense that was questioned to help the Pirates move one game over .500. Starter Jeff Karstens and four relievers combined to limit Los Angeles to just a single run. Jose Tabata’s sliding catch of a drive from Juan Uribe in the eighth tunred into an inning ending double play and some fireworks. The Pirates then connected on three doubles in the home half of the eighth to win it.
Los Angeles got on the board in a hurry. In the first Aaron Miles reached on an infield single and advanced to third on Andre Ethier’s hit and run single (on a 3-2 count). He scored when Juan Uribe’s grounder avoided Pedro Alvarez’ glove. But Karstens settled in after that. He didn’t allow anyone past second base until the sixth inning. With two outs a walk to Uribe and a single from James Loney put runners on the corners. Karstens was yanked in favor of Michael Crotta who got a fielder’s choice grounder from rookie Jerry Sands to end the inning.
Chad Billingsley started for the Dodgers and pitched very effectively. Pittsburgh tied the score in the third. Ronny Cedeno singled leading off. Two outs later, Tabata walked, pushing Cedeno to second. Garrett Jones came up with a two out, RBI singled to even it up.
Crotta needed some help from Joe Beimel in the seventh. Crotta was pulled after consecutive one out singles. But Beimel got a fielder’s choice grounder from Miles before getting Andre Ethier to fly out to end the inning.
It got exciting in the eighth. With one on and one gone, Uribe drove all to center field. Tabata made a diving catch and came up throwing to Neil Walker. He turned and fired to Lyle Overbay at first double up Matt Kemp and end the inning. The Dodgers argued, resulting in both Uribe and Don Mattingly in getting ejected.
It will be tough to say if he was tired or if he was shaken by the goings on, but Billingsley hit the wall in the eighth. Garrett Jones walked leading off. Xavier Paul was called on to pinch run. He scored on Walker’s double to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. But they weren’t done. Hong-Chih Kuo relieved Billingsley but gave up doubles to Overbay and Ryan Doumit to make it 4-1 Pittsburgh.
Joel Hanrahan pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. Karstens went 5-2/3 and gave up one run on seven hits. He got a no decision. Jose Veras pitched the eighth and was credited with the win. Billingsley gave up three runs in seven plus innings. He surrendered seven hits and three walks.
Karstens was solid.
Doumit had three hits.
Bucs retired four Dodger baserunners with two groundball double plays and two runners doubled off after fly ball outs.
Opposing pitcher Billingsley had two hits.
Billingsley came into the game with four wins against zero losses against Pittsburgh. He had made eight appearances including four starts. The Bucs were just 10-48 as a group against Billinglsey coming into tonight’s game. Chris Snyder was only 3-22 but two of his hits went for homers. He was rested in favor of Ryan Doumit who came into the game 5-9 against Billingsley.
Karstens was 0-2 in four career appearances (three starts) against the Dodgers coming into this game. LA was hitting just .222 against him in 36 collective at bats.
Hanrahan has eleven saves this year after recording eleven in the last two years combined.
Doumit has six hits in his last ten at bats with two homers and eight RBI.