Pirates 6, Dodgers 5: Craig Kimbrel continues to struggle, Dodgers lose first game against Pirates in LA since 2016

The Dodgers had won 12 in a row against the Pirates in Los Angeles dating back to 2016. That looked like it would be extended late tonight when the Dodgers scored five unanswered runs, but the Pirates came back with two of their own off the Dodger “closer” in a 6-5 loss.

Also, Memorial Day!

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As I’ve seemingly said for way too long, Walker Buehler has been fine this year but hasn’t really looked like his dominant self so far, and that didn’t change tonight.

It was the 2nd that gave him an uphill battle the rest of the way as a walk and a single was followed by Tucupita Marcano (???) absolutely drilling a ball out to right-center for a three-run homer.

The very next inning, Bryan Reynolds came up and drilled a homer as well for a 4-0 lead.

After consecutives singles followed that homer, Buehler finally settled in, retiring 10 of the final 12 he faced to get through six innings without giving up further runs.

The primary threat came in his last inning, when he allowed a “triple” after Gavin Lux took a Magellan route in left, seemingly threw out the runner, but Justin Turner dropped the ball on the tag. But they were all bailed out by a seemingly botched squeeze play, and things were truly getting weird.

Anyway, Buehler’s ERA increased to 3.22, but he kept the Dodgers in it: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 93 Pitches.

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That was important, as the Dodger lineup did claw back into it against Zach Thompson. While the Dodgers had mini-threats going in the 2nd and 3rd, there wasn’t anything doing in the end. However, in the 5th the bats took the option that left no doubt, with back-to-back jacks from Hanser Alberto and Mookie Betts. It was Hanser’s 1st and Mookie’s NL-leading 15th to cut the deficit in half to 4-2.

Thompson still had a great outing all things considered, getting two outs in the 6th before being removed for matchup reasons.

Well, that choice to remove him backfired on the Pirates quickly. Thompson had struck out Edwin Rios twice to that point, but even against a lefty reliever making a quality pitch, Rios just straight-up muscled one out to left field to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Well … pepper grinding, right?

Out of the Dodgers pen was Yency Almonte in the 7th, and he actually pitched a couple of scoreless innings, allowing just a single baserunner in each.

Meanwhile the bats continued to work. After failing at a two-out rally in the 7th, they faced Pirates closer David Bednar in the 8th and got to him. Trea Turner led off with a double and a Will Smith fly out moved Trea to third, but Edwin struck out and the rally was on the brink of failure. However, Justin got the job done as always with a double to tie the game, and then Chris Taylor followed up with a bloop single for the 5-4 lead.

That brought in Craig Kimbrel in the 9th for the save. He got a groundout to start, but then issued a walk after an eight-pitch battle and uncorked a wild pitch. That led to Michael Perez singling to right for the tie in a close play at the plate, and then Freddie Freeman made a shocking error that scored another run for a 6-5 lead to the Pirates.

Bednar continued in the 9th despite a 27-pitch 8th, and after a Hanser strikeout, Mookie smacked a ground-rule double and Freddie walked. However, Trea flew out and Will struck out on Bednar’s 50th pitch to end things.

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Eric Karros has thoughts on thiccness.

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The Dodgers fall to 33-15 on the year and now have a 3-game lead over the Padres in the NL West.

The two teams do it again tomorrow at 4:10 PM HT/7:10 PM PT/10:10 PM ET with Julio Urias taking the mound against … well, we don’t know.

About Chad Moriyama

"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times