Dodgers 5, Pirates 4: Series salvaged thanks to timely hits

Things started off quite poorly for the Dodgers on a Monday morning, but they rallied behind some timely hitting and a settled-down version of Scott Kazmir to salvage one game of the 4-game set with the Pirates, winning 5-4.

Kazmir, a night after Kershaw had one of his worst outings of the season, looked like he was going to get lit up in the first inning. He threw 40 pitches to get the three outs and allowed four runs.

So yes, Kazmir has struggled mightily in the first inning this season. But he rebounded to throw four scoreless innings, and he retired 12 hitters in a row at one point.

Kazmir in a nutshell, really. His final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 4 BB, 4 K (lots o’ fours), 97 pitches, 58 strikes, 5/3 GO/AO. Not a great outing, but it was “good” enough.

The Dodgers got on the board in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Justin Turner after a leadoff triple for Chris Taylor.

They would then rally in the fifth inning. Enrique Hernandez drew the second of his three(!) walks and Turner followed with a double. Trayce Thompson followed that with a walk to bring up Yasiel Puig. Puig smacked a 97 MPH liner to right field for a 2-run single. Singles hitter and team stolen base leader (seven) Howie Kendrick followed with a line drive single to right of his own to tie the game. Believe it or not, the tie was broken on an infield single by A.J. Ellis. Yes, A.J. Ellis had an RBI infield single. End times are a comin’.

In the sixth inning, this happened … sorta.

The Dodgers got into a spot of bother after Louis Coleman allowed a 1-out double to Sean Rodriguez. He got Erik Kratz to pop out and Dave Roberts brought in J.P. Howell to face Matt Joyce, who had really good numbers against left-handed pitching coming into the game. Even after falling behind 3-1, Howell got two swinging strikes to get out of the inning.

As for Kenley Jansen, he wasn’t up because he was going to come into the game. There’s no chance Roberts would have made that decision.

In the eighth inning, everyone’s favorite dinger-allowing reliever Pedro Baez came in to face Jung Ho Kang, Starling Marte and Josh Harrison. Naturally, he struck out Kang and Marte (who has been one of the best hitters in the NL this season). Despite getting them on eight pitches, Roberts elected to bring Jansen into the game.

Jansen hadn’t pitched in six days, so it was actually fine. But allowing Baez to face Kang (11 home runs) and Marte (six homers) but not Harrison (three homers) was just a little strange. Hard to complain with the outcome and the overall decision. Let’s just call it … interesting.

Jansen set down the Pirates in the ninth inning, which included a strikeout of the dangerous Gregory Polanco and a walk of the dreaded (literally) John Jaso.

The Dodgers snap their 3-game losing streak and didn’t get swept! That was the theme of today’s game thread. They improve to 42-36 and are 7 1/2 games behind the Giants in the NL West. They’re off to Milwaukee for a 3-game set. Julio Urias (0-2, 4.33 ERA) opposes Chase Anderson (4-7, 5.13). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.