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Dodgers rough up rusty starter Volquez, knock off Pirates at PNC Park

Rob Biertempfel
| Monday, July 21, 2014, 10:30 p.m.
The Pirates' Travis Snider can't catch up to a ball hit by the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth inning Monday, July 21, 2014, at PNC Park.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Travis Snider can't catch up to a ball hit by the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth inning Monday, July 21, 2014, at PNC Park.

When Pirates right-hander Edinson Volquez took the mound Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it had been 11 days since he last pitched in a game.

The rust showed.

The Dodgers knocked Volquez around for five runs and eased to a 5-2 victory.

“Too many days between starts,” Volquez said. “It was really tough to pitch against a very good team like (the Dodgers). Everything was up. I was fighting myself to find a rhythm to execute pitches.”

Volquez (8-7) worked 5 23 innings and served up a season-high 10 hits. That's as many hits as he allowed in his first two starts in July combined (16 innings pitched).

It also was one hit shy of his career-worst total. On June 7, 2013, Volquez yielded 11 hits in 2 13 innings against the Colorado Rockies.

On July 10, Volquez notched the Pirates' first complete game of the season in a 9-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Then came the All-Star break and the long shutdown that caused Volquez to lose some of his edge.

“It can happen,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It can challenge you. You want to hang onto that feel, and part of that is the routine.”

A 10-year veteran, Volquez said he'd never had so much downtime between starts during a season.

“Eleven days,” Volquez said. “It's tough, especially with the way that I was pitching before the break, to come back after 11 days off. It put me back a little bit.”

The Dodgers were without outfielder Yasiel Puig and shortstop Hanley Ramirez after both were bruised by errant pitches over the weekend. On Saturday, Puig was nailed on the left hand. Ramirez was hit on the left shoulder and left hand Sunday.

Matt Kemp's 22nd double of the year scored Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez to give the Dodgers a 2-0 edge in the third inning.

In the fourth, the Dodgers parlayed two bad hops and a soft single into a 5-0 lead.

Juan Uribe singled and went to third when A.J. Ellis smashed a ground-ball single that kicked off the second base bag. Hyun-Jin Ryu sacrificed Ellis to second.

“That's part of the game,” Volquez said. “You can't complain about that.”

Uribe was thrown out on Dee Gordon's fielder's choice grounder. Turner, who started in place of Ramirez, followed with a hard bouncer to the left side.

The ball short-hopped third baseman Josh Harrison and caromed off his body into the outfield. It was ruled a double, and two runs scored.

“I was going to body (block) it, but it just ran off my wrists,” Harrison said.

Gonzalez lofted a single over the reach of Walker into shallow right field. Turner scored.

The Pirates got a pair of two-out runs off Ryu in the bottom of the fourth.

McCutchen singled, and Walker walked. Russell Martin and Jordy Mercer each lined an RBI single to right field.

After Mercer's hit, Ryu retired the next nine batters. Michael Martinez, who started in left field in place of slumping Gregory Polanco (0-for-11 skid), snapped that string with a two-out single in the seventh.

Ryu (11-5) went seven innings and allowed two runs and five hits, walked one and struck out five. The left-hander has beaten the Pirates twice this season.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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