PITTSBURGH -- For a change, the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't get much of a start. Thanks to relievers Chad Billingsley and Takashi Saito and another homer by Russell Martin, the finish couldn't have been much better.
Martin homered for the third consecutive game and the Dodgers won with their hitting rather than their starting pitching for a change, overcoming two Pittsburgh leads to beat the Pirates 5-4 on Friday night.
Despite an off night by starter Randy Wolf (7-3), who won his fourth straight although he allowed four runs over five innings, the Dodgers won their seventh in nine games.
"I'll take them any way I can get them," said Wolf, who pitched six shutout innings in his previous start but didn't get the decision. "You'd much rather pitch well, pitch a complete game shutout -- it wasn't pretty, but we had some big hits and the bullpen did an amazing job."
The Dodgers began the game with a 3.61 ERA -- third best in the NL -- after allowing two earned runs or fewer in all but one of their six most recent victories -- including shutouts in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday. This time, their best pitching came from the bullpen as Billingsley, Joe Beimel and Saito combined for four scoreless innings. Saito got the final five outs for his 16th save in as many chances this season and 26th in a row overall.
"It was a constant battle -- they score, we score, they score, we score," Martin said. "But we got the go-ahead run and kept the lead with our bullpen going strong."
Martin's sixth homer of the season led off the fifth inning against Zach Duke (2-6) and made it 5-4, an inning after the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead with a three-run fourth keyed by Tony Abreu's two-run double.
"I've been feeling pretty good at the plate," said Martin, who is hitting .308. "Against lefties, I feel I can get locked in and drive the ball the other way."
The Pirates, who lost leads of 1-0 and 2-1, tied it in their half of the fourth on Chris Duffy's two-run triple but didn't score again while losing their eighth in 11 games against the NL West.
Billingsley pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings after Wolf was lifted for a pinch hitter, getting five of his seven outs on strikeouts. Billingsley was pulled so Beimel could face the left-handed hitting Adam LaRoche, who doubled, but Saito came on to throw in the high 90s while retiring all five batters he faced.
"He needed the work, and it was good," manager Grady Little said of Saito. "We can't afford to give him four or five days off so he can throw that hard."
No doubt the Dodgers would like to make more frequent trips to Pittsburgh, where they are 18-5 since PNC Park opened in 2001. On Friday, they caught a break when the Pirates couldn't score a runner from second on Jason Bay's double in the first, a run they badly needed at the end.
After Freddy Sanchez doubled to score Jose Bautista, who had singled, Bay lofted a fly ball to the center field wall that Juan Pierre couldn't run down. Sanchez held up to see if the catch was made, then stopped at third even as Bay easily made it to second.
"That mental error I made was a big part of what happened," Sanchez said. "It was a bad baserunning play -- I should know better, especially with one out, to be tagging up on that play. I think that had a lot to do with dictating the momentum of the game, and it shifted real quick."
Sanchez and Bay were left on base when Wolf struck out Xavier Nady and got LaRoche on a fly ball. LaRoche went 1-for-4 during his first major league game against little brother Andy LaRoche, who flied out as a pinch hitter in the sixth before being optioned to Triple-A after the game.
Bay's ninth homer put the Pirates up 2-1 in the third. Bay is 16-for-31 (.316) with four homers and 12 RBI during an eight-game hitting streak.
Duke (2-6) couldn't hold that 2-1 lead as he lost his sixth in seven decisions and his third without a victory in six home starts this season. The left-hander gave up eight hits and five runs in six innings. Salomon Torres, demoted from the closer's role earlier Friday, followed Duke by retiring all six batters he faced.
"I'm disappointed," Duke said. "When the offense came through, I couldn't pick them up."
The Pirates have lost five of six at home and are 10-17 at PNC Park. ... Olmedo Saenz went 0-for-3 with a walk. He was 8-for-14 with four extra-base hits during a four-game series in Pittsburgh last season and previously was 16-for-29 in PNC Park. He was 0-for-2 against Duke after being 8-for-10 with two homers against him. ... Wolf has won four straight and five of his last six against Pittsburgh. ... Duke became the first Pirates starter in five games to fail to last at least seven innings. ... Billingsley, who prefers to start, has 36 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings.