PITTSBURGH -- There seems to be a quick cure for those NL West teams looking to end long slumps and get closer to the .500 mark: Make a trip to Pittsburgh.
Olmedo Saenz homered while driving in a career-high six runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers bounced back after being dominated in a shutout loss the night before, hitting three homers in a 12-6 victory over the Pirates on Friday night.
Saenz hit a three-run homer and a two-run double, and Jeff Kent and Ricky Ledee added solo shots as the often low-scoring Dodgers reached 10 runs for only the second time in two months. They were coming off a 4-0 loss Thursday in Washington when the Nationals' John Patterson struck out 13.
Saenz and Ledee each went 3-for-5, with Ledee driving in two runs.
"Ledee and Saenz, that's eight RBI and five hits between the guys -- that's two very intricate parts of our club," manager Jim Tracy said. "They did some special things and everybody in the lineup had a base hit, and that creates opportunities for your offense to do some things."
The Dodgers, losers of eight of their previous 12, arrived in Pittsburgh at just the right time for a team looking to end a slump. The Pirates have allowed 24 runs in their last two games and 43 runs in losing three of four to the San Diego Padres and Dodgers.
So far on the homestand, the last-place Pirates have lost by scores of 11-3, 12-7 and 12-6, with the only victory a 9-8 decision over the Padres on Wednesday.
Of course, the Dodgers don't have much trouble winning in Pittsburgh, no matter how poorly they're playing. They have won 14 of 16 -- seven in a row -- since PNC Park opened in 2001 and are 14-1 overall against the Pirates since 2003.
Saenz has been getting more time off since the All-Star break because of a sore lower back that is stiff some days and OK on others, and he thinks it's helped him stay fresh and productive. He sat out the loss Thursday night.
"But I'm playing more than I used to play as a bench player, and it keeps you sharp," Saenz said. "It's pretty hard for a bench player when you don't play for four, five days. It's one of the hardest jobs in baseball."
As usual, much of the scoring against Pirates right-hander Josh Fogg (5-7) came on homers. Kent connected to start the second, his 21st and his fourth in 18 at-bats against Fogg. Saenz hit his 11th homer an inning later following a costly error by Pirates rookie first baseman Brad Eldred on Oscar Robles' grounder.
Fogg has yielded 23 homers in 22 starts and 12 in nine starts at PNC Park, where he is 1-4. He is in danger of being removed from the rotation when left-hander Oliver Perez returns from a broken toe in about two weeks.
"Our starting pitchers haven't given us quality innings in quite a while, and the bullpen is getting stretched out," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Decisions are going to have to be made. Guys are going to have to pitch better."
Eldred hit his first major-league homer, a solo drive in the second off Derek Lowe (8-11) that was his 67th in organized baseball since the start of the 2004 season. He hit 38 homers in Class A and Double-A a season ago and was promoted to the majors last month after hitting 28 homers in Double-A and Triple-A this season.
Lowe left leading 5-3 after six innings and won for only the second time in 12 road starts, giving up two earned runs and five hits.
The Dodgers made it 10-3 in a five-run seventh against Fogg and reliever Rick White, started by Izturis' two-run single. All six hits in the inning were singles, and shortstop Jack Wilson misplayed Dioner Navarro's grounder to put two on with no outs just ahead of pinch-hitter Jason Repko's bunt single to load the bases.
"That error on a double play ball, that was the game," Wilson said. "That's the way it's going for us now, any time we make an error the other team scores."
Steve Schmoll pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for his second save and batted in the majors for the first time, grounding out.
Lowe is 2-5 on the road. ... The Dodgers are 20-5 against Pittsburgh since McClendon became manager in 2001. ... The Pirates have lost eight of 10 overall and are 16-34 since reaching the .500 mark on June 11. ... Los Angles had averaged only 3.3 runs over its previous seven games. ... The Pirates haven't beaten the Dodgers at home since April 25, 2002, when Fogg beat Hideo Nomo. ... Fogg has won only once in 12 starts since June 6, going 1-4. ... Since beating Milwaukee 10-6 on June 5, the Dodgers had scored in double figures only once -- a 10-2 win over Philadelphia on July 20. ... The Pirates are 1-28 in mop up reliever Ryan Vogelsong's 29 appearances this season.