Dodgers complete sweep of Pirates
LOS ANGELES — The Pirates hit their first home run Sunday. And, for the first time all weekend, they put a couple of runs on the board against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So much for the good news.
The Dodgers banged out 11 hits, clobbering pitchers Jeff Locke and Chris Leroux, and eased to a 6-2 victory. The Pirates managed only four hits and have yet to score more than three runs in a game this season.
After being swept in the three-game series, the Pirates (1-5) are off to their worst start since 2006, when they dropped their first six games.
“We've had our opportunities to come through with the big, clutch hit,” hitting coach Jay Bell said. “We haven't quite got there yet.”
Pedro Alvarez went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts. He's hitless in his past 14 at-bats and has been dropped from cleanup to sixth in the batting order.
No. 2 hitter Neil Walker is hitless in his past 15 at-bats, sinking his average to .100 with a .217 on-base percentage. Catcher Russell Martin, stuck in an 0-for-14 funk, was given the day off. Michael McKenry started at catcher and, batting fifth, went 0 for 3.
Manager Clint Hurdle indicated Alvarez, Walker and Martin will be in the lineup the next two days against the Arizona Diamondbacks' right-handed pitchers.
“It's about giving men an opportunity to overcome a challenge,” Hurdle said.
For Alvarez, the challenge always has been greatest against lefty pitchers. He is 0 for 8 against them this season, including four hitless at-bats Sunday against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu and reliever J.P. Howell.
Hurdle flatly ruled out platooning Alvarez at third base against left-handers.
“No way,” Hurdle said. “He's got to cut his teeth up here. He can hit left-handed pitching; we've just got to get him out there. He's at the point, like a lot of us now, where he's got work to do.”
Starling Marte led off the game with a single off Ryu (1-1). One out later, Andrew McCutchen launched a 1-1 fastball into the left-field seats.
It was the Pirates' first home run in 56 innings going back to the penultimate game of the 2012 season. Until McCutchen's shot, they had been the only team in the majors without one this year.
Marte and McCutchen have combined for 11 hits and five RBI this season. The rest of the team has 10 hits and three RBI.
Before you get too giddy for McCutchen and Marte, consider this: eight of their hits have been singles. The entire team has just four doubles and no triples.
“We're going to hit homers,” Hurdle said. “Extra-base hits are more of our focus now.”
Locke (0-1), making his season debut, held that lead for ... oh, about five minutes.
With one out in the bottom of the first, Nick Punto singled and Matt Kemp doubled. Adrian Gonzalez rolled a single up the middle to tie it, 2-2.
In the bottom of the third, Carl Crawford doubled off the wall in left-center. He went to third on Punto's bunt and scored on Kemp's sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
“I felt like I did get better as I went on,” said Locke, who went six innings and gave up four runs on eight hits. “It was one of those days when you've got to take what you've got and work with it as best you can.”
Marte began the third with a bunt single but was still standing at first when the inning ended. The Pirates did not get another hit until Jose Tabata's infield single with one out in the seventh.
Ryu struck out six, including the final three batters he faced. He worked 6 1⁄3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits.
Ryu is the first player to jump from the Korea Baseball Organization to the big leagues.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Pirates notebook: New catcher Cervelli eager to bond with staff
- Ex-Pirate Parker fights against Parkinson’s with optimistic attitude