- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Just because Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Mike Bolsinger is going to remain in the fifth spot in his rotation, it doesn’t necessarily translate into a guaranteed spot on the postseason roster.

Bolsinger was charged with four runs - three earned - and five hits over 4 1-3 innings on Sunday, giving up solo homers to Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I’m just trying to pitch like I did before I went down,” Bolsinger said after his third start since his Sept. 1 recall from Triple-A. “I’ve always believed that if you put yourself in a good position, good things will happen, and I’m really not putting myself in a good position.”

Los Angeles’ magic number for clinching its third straight NL West title stayed at seven with 14 games left.

The Pirates, whose 89-60 record is the second-best in the majors, tied it 2-all in the third when Marte drove a 2-1 pitch halfway up the pavilion seats in left-center for his 17th homer this season.

Alvarez gave Pittsburgh the lead for good in the fourth with his team-high 25th homer and 20th with the bases empty. His 109 home runs since the start of the 2012 season are the second-most in the NL during that stretch, behind Giancarlo Stanton’s 128 for Miami.

“I don’t think it’s mechanics,” Bolsinger said. ”It’s just my timing and feel for my pitches is just off. I just don’t feel it. That feel is just not there. The curveball used to be sharper. Now it’s more loopy, and I’m leaving it up in the strike zone.”

Bolsinger (6-4) issued three walks - all to 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. He departed after the third, and Aramis Ramirez greeted Yimi Garcia with an RBI single that made it 4-2.

Cole (17-8) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings and struck out nine. He is 3-0 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts against Los Angeles.

Van Slyke homered in the seventh inning, only the second allowed by Cole in 61 2-3 innings over his last 10 starts.

Tony Watson and Mark Melancon followed with perfect innings of relief, and Melancon got his 48th save in 50 chances.

Pittsburgh remained four games behind St. Louis in the NL West after the Cardinals’ 4-3 win at Chicago. The Pirates now own the first wild card spot by a full game over the Cubs, with no one else realistically in the hunt.

BIG ARM

Marte threw out Alex Guerrero in the second when Guerrero tried to stretch his RBI single to left into a double. Marte leads the NL with 15 outfield assists, and the Pirates top the league with 35.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP A.J. Burnett (8-5) will start the opener of a four-game series on Monday night at Colorado, his first start against the Rockies in more than two years.

Dodgers: LHP Brett Anderson (9-8) will start the opener of the Diamondbacks series. He leads the majors in groundball percentage (66.7) and groundball-to-fly ratio (4.29).

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide