The Dodgers’ refrain: Wait until we get our guys back! Wait for the cavalry!
The first wave came Friday, and for one night, the new Dodgers looked a lot like those old Dodgers.
Offense continued to be mere rumor, the Dodgers going meekly in a 3-0 loss to the Pirates and left-hander Jeff Locke in Pittsburgh.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez started his first game since June 5, the Dodgers nursing his return from a strained hamstring. Catcher A.J. Ellis was activated from the disabled list Friday, recovered from a strained oblique.
That left the Dodgers down only two starters, though significant ones in outfielders Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford.
But Ramirez and Ellis could add nothing to the Dodgers’ feeble attack, combining to go 0 for 7. Ellis struck out in all three of his at-bats.
The rest of the Dodgers could do little with Locke, who went seven smooth, easy innings for the Pirates. Locke (6-1) held the Dodgers scoreless on only two hits, walking one and striking out five. He averaged just over 10 pitches an inning, 75 total.
The Dodgers picked up a bunt single from Yasiel Puig to lead off the game and a hit from Mark Ellis in the second inning. They did not get another hit until the eighth against reliever Mark Melancon.
Stephen Fife started his fourth game this season for the Dodgers, and if not at his best, still pitched well enough to win. Fife (1-2) threw plenty of pitches in his five innings (93), but gave up only two runs, both coming in the third inning.
After singles by Alex Presley and former Dodger Russell Martin, Andrew McCutchen doubled both in.
The Dodgers’ best chance to score came against closer Jason Grilli, after Puig beat out an infield hit and Nick Punto bunted for a single to open the ninth inning.
But Grilli struck out Adrian Gonzalez, got Ramirez to foul out and struck out Mark Ellis to earn his 24th save.
The Dodgers were managed Friday by Trey Hillman, who filled in for Don Mattingly. Ronald Belisario, hitting coach Mark McGwire and Mattingly were serving one-game suspensions for their roles in Tuesday’s brawl against the Diamondbacks.