Pittsburgh at Los Angeles

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (7-6) «0200010036121
L.A. Dodgers (5-8)0100120004100

McLouth's clutch three-run blast vaults Pirates past Dodgers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Nate McLouth had one more chance to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, and he did it against one of baseball's top closers.

McLouth hit a three-run homer off All-Star Takashi Saito with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the stunned Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 on Monday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

"It doesn't matter how we won the game. It just happened to be that way tonight," McLouth said. "We're not going to win on a lot of three-run home runs, but it's a great way to kick off a road trip. The first game of a West Coast swing is always tough."

Saito (1-1) was trying to save the victory for countryman Hiroki Kuroda, who made his Dodger Stadium debut. But Saito gave up a one-out single to Jose Bautista and a two-out single to pinch-hitter Adam LaRoche before McLouth drove a 1-0 pitch deep into the right-field pavilion for his second home run this season.

Saito had four blown saves last season in 43 opportunities, and his 1.40 ERA was the second-lowest in the majors among pitchers with at least 50 innings.

"I'm sorry that I didn't do my job. It was my responsibility to close it," Saito said through a translator.

McLouth is one of three players to hit safely in each of his team's first 13 games this year, along with Kansas City's Billy Butler and the Dodgers' James Loney. The Pirates' center fielder and leadoff hitter is batting .383 with two home runs and 14 RBI. His longest hitting streak last season was 11 games.

"I did a lot of work in spring training and I've been able to carry that into the season," McLouth said. "It's nice to get off to a good start. You kind of like to show them that they made the right decision by naming me a starter. You're not going to get a hit in every game, but you try to widen it as long as you can."

Loney extended his streak with a game-tying RBI single in the sixth. It's the Dodgers' third longest to open a season since the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. Steve Garvey hit in 21 straight in 1978, one year after Ron Cey opened the season with a 17-game run.

Bautista hit a two-run homer for the Pirates. Tyler Yates (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory and Matt Capps worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Pirates starter Zach Duke gave up four runs and eight hits over six innings, with two walks and no strikeouts. In his five career starts against the Dodgers, the left-hander is 1-3 and has allowed 24 earned runs in 29 2/3 innings.

Kuroda allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings with two strikeouts and no walks. The 33-year-old right-hander signed with the Dodgers in December after 11 seasons with Hiroshima in the Japanese Central League.

The Pirates took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Jason Bay singled and came all the way around on Xavier Nady's double off the right-field fence to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead.

But the Dodgers pulled ahead with two runs in the bottom half. Loney hit an RBI single after a leadoff double by Jeff Kent, whose 541st career two-base hit tied Rogers Hornsby for 23rd place in that department. Two outs later, rookie Blake DeWitt lined a single off the glove of first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to score Loney with the go-ahead run.

Andruw Jones drove in the Dodgers' first run with a second-inning groundout after Russell Martin reached on an infield hit, then advanced to third on a balk and a passed ball by Ryan Doumit. It was only the second RBI this season for Jones, who signed a two-year, $36.2 million free-agent contract on Feb. 28 and is 5-for-44 on the season.

"We've only got a small sampling, even though it's a hell of a dry spell for him, and I know he's fighting it," manager Joe Torre said. "The thing about Andruw is the fact that you signed him, and you signed him for a reason. I just can't see how benching him solves the problem, because you're never going to get what he has to offer.

"We're dealing with only about a dozen games, and it's really tough to bury somebody in that period of time," he added. "I still believe that he's got to be the center fielder. The only way he's going to break out of his slump is between the lines."

The slumping slugger got his second extra-base hit as a Dodger in the fifth. Nady misjudged Jones' towering opposite-field drive to right field while attempting a leaping catch at the fence. Jones ended up with a triple and scored the tying run when Kuroda bounced a double over the third base bag for his first major league hit.

Notes

  • Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and his wife Jo observed their 58th wedding anniversary.
  • Duke and former Dodgers great Fernando Valenzuela are among four pitchers since 1920 who fashioned an ERA under 1.00 through their first six big league starts. Duke's was 0.92 in 2005. Valenzuela's was 0.33 in 1981, the year he won the NL Cy Young Award and was Rookie of the Year.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The look on Dodgers closer Takashi Saito's face says it all after the game-deciding home run.  (US Presswire)
The look on Dodgers closer Takashi Saito's face says it all after the game-deciding home run. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. Bautista
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Pittsburgh

N. McLouth
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth, CF5113012 .383
Freddy Sanchez, 2B5030001 .250
Jason Bay, LF5000034 .250
Ryan Doumit, C4110003 .341
Xavier Nady, RF4121011 .346
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B4000002 .227
Jose Bautista, 3B4122001 .191
    Brian Bixler, PR0100000 .154
    Chris Gomez, 3B0000000 .368
Luis Rivas, SS4010011 .243
Zach Duke, P2010001 .143
   a- Nyjer Morgan, PH1000000 .200
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
   b- Adam LaRoche, PH1110000 .128
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
Totals39612606  
a-lined out for Duke in the 7th
b-singled for Yates in the 9th
Batting
2B - Xavier Nady (3, Kuroda)
HR - Nate McLouth (2, Saito), Jose Bautista (1, Kuroda)
RBI - Nate McLouth 3 (14), Xavier Nady (14), Jose Bautista 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Nate McLouth 3 (11), Jose Bautista 2 (2)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
PB - Ryan Doumit (1)
E - Ryan Doumit (1, Dropped fly)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke 6843200 2.89
John Grabow 1100010 0.00
Tyler Yates (W,2-0) 1100000 1.00
Matt Capps (S,4) 1000010 3.52
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 94-60, John Grabow 11-8, Tyler Yates 21-11, Matt Capps 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 11-7, John Grabow 2-0, Tyler Yates 1-2, Matt Capps 1-1
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 28, John Grabow 4, Tyler Yates 4, Matt Capps 3
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS4000102 .360
Andre Ethier, LF4010102 .286
Matt Kemp, RF5010014 .273
Jeff Kent, 2B4110001 .238
    Chin-lung Hu, 2B0000000 .222
James Loney, 1B4111011 .375
Russell Martin, C4120000 .178
Andruw Jones, CF4111002 .114
Blake Dewitt, 3B4011002 .256
Hiroki Kuroda, P2011000 .167
   a- Delwyn Young, PH1010000 .250
    Scott Proctor, P0000000 .000
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
   b- Mark Sweeney, PH1000001 .100
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
Totals37410422  
a-singled for Kuroda in the 6th
b-grounded out for Broxton in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jeff Kent (4, Duke), Hiroki Kuroda (1, Duke)
3B - Andruw Jones (1, Duke)
RBI - James Loney (5), Andruw Jones (2), Blake Dewitt (5), Hiroki Kuroda (1)
2-OUT RBI - Blake Dewitt (5)
Team LOB - 8
Los Angeles Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda 6733021 2.89
Scott Proctor (H,1) 0.1000000 7.71
Joe Beimel (H,1) 0.2000010 1.80
Jonathan Broxton (H,1) 1100020 1.42
Takashi Saito (BS,1; L,1-1) 1433011 5.40
Pitches-Strikes - Hiroki Kuroda 84-56, Scott Proctor 4-3, Joe Beimel 11-9, Jonathan Broxton 16-12, Takashi Saito 28-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Hiroki Kuroda 7-9, Scott Proctor 1-0
Batters Faced - Hiroki Kuroda 25, Scott Proctor 1, Joe Beimel 2, Jonathan Broxton 4, Takashi Saito 7
Game Information
Attendance - 37334
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Tim Timmons