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Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Brandon Cumpton was nearly flawless through the first four innings in his eight previous starts in the big leagues, allowing just one run. The Los Angeles Dodgers did quite a number on the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander on Saturday, scoring 11 times before the fifth inning.
Hanley Ramirez homered twice, drove in five runs and scored four times, tying career highs in all three categories and leading the defending NL West champions to a 12-2 rout of the Pirates on Saturday.
“I was getting behind guys, so they were sitting on heaters and doing what they get paid to do,” said Cumpton, who gave up 11 hits in 3 2-3 innings. “When I made my pitch, it found a hole - and when I didn’t make my pitch, it found a gap. It’s discouraging, but it’s only one start. I’ve gotten beaten around before and I’m sure it’s going to happen again. But I’m not going to hang my head over it.”
One of the 11 runs charged to Cumpton (0-2) was unearned, the result of a dropped fly ball by left fielder Starling Marte that triggered a four-run third. But it hardly mattered in the big picture, as the 25-year-old rookie’s ERA jumped from 3.38 to 6.85 in four starts.
“The fastball command wasn’t close to what we’ve seen from him in the past, and that sets up everything else,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was trying to get some balls in on right-handers and yanked them back over the plate. This game will grab you, and it grabbed him today. It was a hard day for him.”
Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2) breezed to his third straight victory, allowing two runs and 10 hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Last Monday at Dodger Stadium, Ryu did not allow a baserunner through the first seven innings of his 4-3 victory over Cincinnati.
The Dodgers staked Ryu to an 11-1 lead with two runs in the first and five more in the fourth. Ramirez and Matt Kemp jump-started the onslaught with two-out RBI singles during Cumpton’s 28-pitch opening frame. He threw only 18 pitches during the Dodgers‘ third-inning rally, as four batters put the ball in play on the first offering and two others did on the second.
“I knew almost all of them were going to be aggressive early in the count,” Cumpton said. “That’s a great lineup. They made me throw pitches, and when I got behind, they made me pay.”
Andre Ethier started things off in the third with a drive that popped out of Marte’s glove for a two-base error as his left arm hit the fence. Ramirez and Justin Turner had RBI singles, Adrian Gonzalez doubled home a run and Kemp hit a sacrifice fly.
Ramirez homered to center with a man on in the fourth. Turner chased Cumpton three batters later with another RBI single, and Drew Butera greeted Jeanmar Gomez with a two-run triple.
“He’s got a really good sinker, and his ball is sneaky,” Butera said of Cumpton. “So our plan as a group today for him was to just make him get the ball out over the plate and up in the zone.”
Ramirez’s 4 for 4 day - which included a leadoff homer in the sixth against Bryan Morris - increased his career average against Pittsburgh to .362. The 2009 NL batting champion and three-time All-Star shortstop is 8 for 20 with eight RBIs in five starts in the cleanup spot after missing four games because of a sore left calf.
“He found some good pitches to hunt and put some good swings on some balls,” Hurdle said. “The history he’s got against this organization is significant. I saw him break in. I had him on the All-Star team in 2008. He’s a good player, a good hitter, and he’s done some damage at the plate. He also stole a base today, so that shows you his wheel’s OK.”
Yasiel Puig had an infield hit in the third inning and has reached base in 32 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. He is 13 for 32 with a homer and three RBIs in nine games since manager Don Mattingly moved him from second to third in the lineup, and the Dodgers are 5-4 during that stretch.
Jamey Wright was credited with his second save in 19 major league seasons, after pitching the final three innings and allowing one hit. His other save was in 2011 with Seattle.
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