- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - It took a terrific pitching performance to end Clayton Kershaw’s streak of nine consecutive wins. Francisco Liriano was the right guy at the right time for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Liriano outpitched the reigning NL MVP, and Aramis Ramirez hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning as Pittsburgh beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Saturday night.

“Those guys aren’t where they’re at for no reason,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “This is another good lineup. You’ve got to run through that set of righties and you’ve got to fight for every out. That’s what they make you do, and it speaks to how good they are.”

Despite the Dodgers’ sixth loss in 24 games, their magic number for clinching their third straight NL West title dropped to seven because the San Francisco Giants lost 6-0 to Arizona.

Andrew McCutchen doubled home two early runs against Kershaw (14-7), charged with three runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. He struck out eight, raising his major league-leading total to 272 with three starts left in the regular season.

The last time a pitcher fanned at least 300 in a season was 2002, when Randy Johnson did it for the fourth straight year with the Diamondbacks.

Kershaw was 9-0 with a 0.98 ERA in his previous 13 starts since losing at Miami on June 27. The three-time Cy Young Award winner finished the night with a 2.18 ERA, third in the National League. Dodgers teammate Zack Greinke has a major league-best 1.65 mark.

The last team that had two pitchers who finished a season with ERAs under 2.00 - among those who qualified for the ERA race - was the 1968 Cleveland Indians with Luis Tiant (1.60) and Sam McDowell (1.81).

Liriano (11-7) took a 2-1 lead into the seventh before the Dodgers tied it on an RBI double by A.J. Ellis. But the Pirates regained the lead in the eighth.

Gregory Polanco chased Kershaw with a leadoff double and went to third on a groundout before Chris Hatcher intentionally walked McCutchen. Ramirez followed with a drive to the fence in left-center for his 71st RBI.

Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick, reinstated from the disabled list Friday after missing 34 games because of a strained left hamstring, played for the first time since Aug. 10 and hit an RBI single in the first inning. It was his 10th hit in 20 career at-bats against Liriano.

McCutchen sliced a 3-2 pitch down the right-field line and just inside the chalk to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead in the second. The 2013 NL MVP has 95 RBIs, one shy of his career-best total in 2012. He came in with just two RBIs in 21 career at-bats against Kershaw.

“I don’t know if frustrating is the right word, but you don’t want to give up two runs on a hit when you’ve got two strikes on a guy,” Kershaw said.

Liriano allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings, striking out nine and retiring 16 in a row during one stretch. The left-hander is 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA in his last 14 starts.

“Frankie gave us just what we needed,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “For me, this was as good a game as he’s pitched all year.”

Liriano is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers. His only other start at Chavez Ravine was on May 30, 2014, when he threw 5 2-3 scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory.

“He was good,” Mattingly said. “I felt like he got ahead in the count a lot more against us than he did over at their place. He was crisper tonight.”

Tony Watson pitched a perfect eighth and Mark Melancon did likewise in the ninth for his major league-leading 47th save in 49 attempts, breaking the franchise record set by Mike Williams in 2002.

Pittsburgh climbed within four games of NL Central-leading St. Louis following the Cardinals’ 5-4 loss at Chicago. The Pirates remained a game ahead of the Cubs in the race for the first wild card, with both teams comfortably in playoff position.


Dodgers 3B Justin Turner exited after six innings because of left knee soreness.


Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (16-8) has allowed only one home run in 54 2-3 innings over his last nine starts.

Dodgers: RHP Mike Bolsinger (6-3) makes his 28th career start and first against Pittsburgh.

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