- Associated Press - Monday, June 2, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Manager Don Mattingly understandably was in an agitated mood after the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped three of four to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The worst they expected was a split with Zack Greinke on the mound.

But Greinke gave up a two-run single in the first inning to Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen’s solo homer in the third and another run-scoring single by Alvarez in the sixth en route to a 5-3 loss on Sunday night.

Justin Turner did most of the damage for the Dodgers with a homer and an RBI single against Edinson Volquez, but they managed only one hit through the final 5 2-3 innings - an RBI single in the ninth against Jason Grilli after a pair of two-out walks.

“Losses have to bother you. You don’t want to sit here and accept anything,” Mattingly said after the defending NL West champions slipped 7 1-2 games back in the division behind San Francisco with a 30-28 record.

“You don’t want to panic, but you also want your team to play with a sense of urgency - that every game counts, and we can’t let a game get away,” Mattingly said. “I always talk about turning the page and letting things go, because tomorrow’s another day. But in the same sense, it’s got to bother you when you lose games and you lose series and you’re not playing the way you’re supposed to play.”

Pittsburgh won its first series at Dodger Stadium September 2006, under then-manager Jim Tracy. McCutchen also doubled twice and scored two runs, helping the Pirates win for the eighth time in 12 games. Leadoff man Josh Harrison also homered and finished the series 7 for 17.

“We’ve been out here a lot and not done a whole lot. So it was a big thing for us - because we flat-out believe we can play,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We needed to knock this off our ‘to-do’ list, and we were able to. We knew what we were facing here, and we outpitched them for three of the four days.”

The four runs given up by Greinke (8-2) were a season-worst. He gave up five hits and struck out seven over six innings.

“That was a pretty good battle, that last inning, with him trying to get out of all that. But you can tell just by his body language and what he says that he felt like he didn’t have his good stuff anymore,” Mattingly said. “I mean, he’d go back out there if I said, ‘You’re going back out.’ He’d have taken the ball and went back out and battled for you.”

Greinke gave up a two-out double to McCutchen and walks to Ike Davis and Russell Martin before Alvarez’s first-inning hit. McCutchen, whose 21 homers, 84 RBIs and .317 average last season helped the Pirates end a 20-year playoff drought, made it 3-1 in the third with his fifth homer and first since April 23, when he connected for the third consecutive game.

“Greinke’s an ultra-competitor. And to beat him, you’ve got to out-compete him,” Hurdle said. “We laid off some tight pitches, we worked some counts, got his pitch count up, then we hit some pitches we were able to handle and got the barrel on them. But that was the plan coming in. I mean, you give him strike one and he can cut you up three different ways. So we just tried to be as aggressive as he was. We were looking for fastballs early, and his location played into it.”

The RBI was McCutchen’s first after a drought of nine games and 33 at-bats since his run-scoring single against Washington’s Blake Treinen on May 22.

“It’s good that we were able to get three out of four against a really good team here in L.A.,” McCutchen said. “We haven’t done that in a long time, so it’s a step in the right direction, definitely.”

Turner, 11 for 32 with three home runs and seven RBIs in nine starts at third base since Juan Uribe went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, got the Dodgers on the board in the second after a ground-rule double by Matt Kemp that landed just inside the line in the right field corner. He trimmed Pittsburgh’s margin to 3-2 in the fourth with a first-pitch drive deep into the pavilion seats in left-center.

Volquez (3-4) allowed two runs and five hits over five innings, striking out six and walking one.

“You’ve got to stay focused on what you’re doing, especially against those guys because they have a good lineup,” Volquez said. “You can’t make a lot of mistakes against them, especially with Greinke, because he’s one of the best pitchers in the National League.”

NOTES: Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig had two hits and has reached base in 33 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. … Grilli’s save was his eighth this season and third in of the series. … McCutchen came in 4 for 21 against Greinke with two RBIs.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide