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Dodgers fail to clinch NL West as LaRoche powers Bucs rout

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- This couldn't-get-any-easier clinching is becoming very hard for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They'll be playing one of the NL's best clubs in another week, yet they suddenly can't beat the league's worst.

Former Dodgers prospect Andy LaRoche homered twice, doubled twice and singled, driving in six runs as the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates again prevented Los Angeles from winning the NL West with an 11-1 romp Monday.

More Dodgers-Pirates links

  • Manny, Belliard out

  • Playoff Race

  • Zach Duke pitched shutout ball into the ninth inning against a patchwork Dodgers lineup, with manager John Russell drawing loud boos for pulling him one out away from a complete game. LaRoche set a career high for hits and RBI in going 5 for 5 and scoring four runs.

    Already assured of a playoff spot, the Dodgers lost three of four to the Pirates, who had dropped 23 of 26 going into the series -- the franchise's worst stretch in 119 seasons. The Dodgers went 3-4 on a road trip against the majors' two worst teams, the Nationals and Pirates.

    "It's always dangerous when you play those teams. I hate to say you should beat somebody, but the record tells you should beat them," manager Joe Torre said. "These are the types of teams you're not comfortable [playing]."

    Uh, oh: The Dodgers get another such team Tuesday in the Padres, who trail them by 21 games. Technically, the Dodgers' magic number is two, but in reality it is one because they own the tiebreaker against Colorado, who trail them by 4½ games. The Dodgers have five games remaining and the Rockies six.

    The Dodgers blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning Sunday and lost 6-5, then got blown out in the series finale. They were missing the injured Manny Ramirez (hamstring), Ronnie Belliard (groin) and Casey Blake (hamstring) and their makeshift lineup included Mark Loretta at third, Juan Castro at short and Brad Ausmus catching.

    They played like a team that couldn't wait to get out of Pittsburgh while having three runners thrown out on the bases and committing a key error in the first two innings alone.

    "We'd give the Bad News Bears a run for their money," Torre said.

    It was no day at the beach for the Dodgers, even if it might have resembled one as wind gusts of up to 30 mph created huge whitecaps on the Allegheny River behind PNC Park's right-field stands.

    Orlando Hudson was caught in a rundown trying to advance on an errant throw in the first. In the second, Loretta was picked off first and Matt Kemp was caught too far off second on James Loney's popup and was thrown out.

    "The first couple of innings, the baserunning was terrible," Torre said. "I have no excuse for it."

    The Dodgers had champagne iced in their clubhouse, ready to celebrate on Sunday, but the Pirates scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth. Now, it must be toted to San Diego for the start of a two-game series.

    "It's baseball, baby, it's baseball. It happens," Hudson said. "They just weren't going to roll over and let us celebrate on their field."

    Duke (11-15) was in control from the start, allowing only three singles until Hudson tripled with one out in the ninth -- a low total for a pitcher who has allowed an NL-high 225 hits.

    Duke couldn't believe it when Russell lifted him following Chin-Lung Hu's sacrifice fly, with a 10-run lead and only one batter to get for the complete game, and the fans let Russell have it. Even Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa seemed surprised, saying something to Duke as he walked by.

    "I wanted it pretty bad, I'm not going to lie," said Duke, who is arbitration-eligible and thus lost a complete game he could have used in negotiations.

    LaRoche, traded to the Pirates in the three-team deal last year in which Los Angeles landed Ramirez, went 10 for 18 with three homers and nine RBI during the series.

    "I didn't care if it was the Dodgers or Padres," LaRoche said. "I don't feel like they just got rid of me, they traded me for Manny Ramirez."

    LaRoche had a two-run double off Hiroki Kuroda (8-7) during the Pirates' big second inning that began with Loretta's throwing error on Lastings Milledge's grounder.

    Garrett Jones had an RBI single in the second and homered, his 21st, in the fourth immediately after LaRoche went deep. Jones was called up June 30 and leads NL rookies in homers.

    LaRoche had a chance for the cycle his final two times up. He rounded second sharply and thought about trying to advance after he doubled to center in the sixth, but pulled up. He hit a two-run homer in the eighth, his 12th.

    Notes

    • Duke was 0-4 with an 8.54 ERA in five starts since beating the Reds on Aug. 22.
    • The Pirates' home attendance of 1,577,853 was their lowest since PNC Park opened in 2001.
     
    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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    Andy LaRoche punishes his former team with two home runs, two doubles and a career-high six RBI.  (AP)
    Andy LaRoche punishes his former team with two home runs, two doubles and a career-high six RBI. (AP)

    Players of the Game
    Pittsburgh

    Z. Duke
    IP 8.2
    H 4
    ER 1
    BB 1
    K 6
    Pittsburgh

    A. LaRoche
    AB 5
    R 4
    H 5
    HR 2
    RBI 6
     

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    Los Angeles Dodgers
    Juan Pierre, LF-CF4000001 .306
    Orlando Hudson, 2B4110010 .286
    Andre Ethier, RF2000110 .274
        Chin-lung Hu, SS0001000 .000
    Matt Kemp, CF3000001 .301
        James McDonald, P0000000 .000
       a- Blake DeWitt, PH1000010 .191
    James Loney, 1B3010010 .288
    Mark Loretta, 3B3010012 .232
    Brad Ausmus, C2000010 .295
        A.J. Ellis, C1000000 .000
    Juan Castro, SS-LF3010000 .290
    Hiroki Kuroda, P0000000 .143
       b- Doug Mientkiewicz, PH1000000 .214
        Charlie Haeger, P0000000 .000
        Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .333
        Jason Repko, RF1000010 .000
    Totals2814117  
    a-struck out for McDonald in the 9th
    b-popped out for Kuroda in the 5th
    Batting
    3B - Orlando Hudson (5, Duke)
    SF - Chin-lung Hu (1)
    SH - Hiroki Kuroda (9)
    RBI - Chin-lung Hu (1)
    CS - Mark Loretta (1, 2nd base by Duke/Doumit)
    Team LOB - 3
    Fielding
    DP - Hudson-Castro-Loney
    E - Mark Loretta (1, Throwing)
    Los Angeles Dodgers
    Hiroki Kuroda (L,8-7) 4873232 3.76
    Charlie Haeger 0.2100010 3.32
    Guillermo Mota 1.1322000 3.53
    James McDonald 2322121 4.06
    HBP - Milledge (by Charlie Haeger)
    Pitches-Strikes - Hiroki Kuroda 75-50, Charlie Haeger 19-13, Guillermo Mota 26-18, James McDonald 39-23
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Hiroki Kuroda 4-5, James McDonald 2-2
    Batters Faced - Hiroki Kuroda 22, Charlie Haeger 4, Guillermo Mota 7, James McDonald 10
    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Andrew McCutchen, CF4330100 .286
    Andy LaRoche, 3B5456000 .259
    Garrett Jones, 1B5122002 .305
    Ryan Doumit, C4011122 .245
    Lastings Milledge, LF4110001 .279
    Brandon Moss, RF5000003 .240
    Delwyn Young, 2B4111123 .261
    Luis Cruz, SS4120001 .237
    Zach Duke, P4001022 .207
        Donnie Veal, P0000000 .000
    Totals3911151136  
    Batting
    2B - Andy LaRoche 2 (26, Kuroda, Mota), Delwyn Young (16, Kuroda)
    HR - Andy LaRoche 2 (12, Kuroda, McDonald), Garrett Jones (21, Kuroda)
    RBI - Andy LaRoche 6 (61), Garrett Jones 2 (44), Ryan Doumit (34), Delwyn Young (39), Zach Duke (5)
    2-OUT RBI - Andy LaRoche 3 (22), Garrett Jones 2 (22)
    SB - Garrett Jones (10, 2nd base off Kuroda/Ausmus)
    Team LOB - 8
    Fielding
    DP - L. Cruz-Young
    E - Luis Cruz (1, Misplayed grounder), Garrett Jones (1, Missed catch of throw)
    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Zach Duke (W,11-15) 8.2411160 3.94
    Donnie Veal 0.1000010 5.40
    Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 103-74, Donnie Veal 3-3
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 13-6
    Batters Faced - Zach Duke 30, Donnie Veal 1
    Game Information
    Attendance - 16696
    Game Time - 2:38
    Temperature - 66
    Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Field Culbreth, Third Base - Brian O'Nora