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Numbers don't favor Dodgers in 6-5 loss to Pirates

Numbers don't favor Dodgers in 6-5 loss to Pirates
Dodgers center fielder EnriqueHernandez is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home runagainst the Piratesin the third inningSaturday. (Jared Wickerham / Getty Images)

Here are some things you could have done in the time it took the Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates to play the first three innings of Saturday's game:

— Fly from Los Angeles to Denver.

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— Watch 3 1/2 episodes of "Family Guy."

—Have a knee surgically replaced.

Here's what the Dodgers and Pirates did during that time: Combined to score 10 runs, collected 14 hits and threw 146 pitches. And most of those numbers favored the Pirates, who held off a Dodgers rally in the ninth inning to win, 6-5.

"It was a weird game," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said. "Anytime you're bringing pitchers in in the fourth [inning] and the third, you know you've got a long way to go."

You can take that last statement a number of ways. Because for the Dodgers, Saturday's loss was their second to the Pirates in as many days, their third in five games on the trip and their 23rd in 35 games against National League teams that began the weekend with a winning record.

That final statistic is not an encouraging one for a team hoping to hang around a while in the playoffs.

Speaking of hanging around a while, the first three innings Saturday took 1 hour 48 minutes and featured three home runs, two instant-replay challenge — there were four in the game, all won by Pittsburgh — and three stolen bases for the Pirates.

One of those home runs was a three-run, second-inning blast by Pirates starter Francisco Liriano, the first of his 10-year career.

But after the Pirates' Neil Walker hit a home run in the third inning, things settled down, with the Dodgers getting only four hits over the next five innings and the Pirates getting only two singles and a walk against relievers.

It was the first time in nine games that the Dodgers bullpen did not give up a run, with Pedro Baez, Luis Avilan and Joel Peralta combining to shut out the Pirates over the final four innings.

That allowed the Dodgers to put the go-ahead run on base in the ninth inning against closer Mark Melancon. And they might have had the bases loaded if the Pirates hadn't successfully challenged a call at first base that first baseman Sean Rodriguez came off the bag while reaching for a throw.

Two batters after that play, Melancon got Yasmani Grandal to swing at a pitch in the dirt for the final out, stranding the final two of 11 runners the Dodgers left base.

"When you give the team a chance to come back and win, that's all you worry about. Get three outs," said Peralta, who retired the Pirates in order in the eighth inning, his second clean inning since June 30th. "Today we were really good and when that happens, sometimes it gets you on a roll."

Less encouraging was the performance of starter Mat Latos, one of the guys the Dodgers acquired at the nonwaiver trade deadline to shore up the rotation.

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"Obviously, whatever he was doing, it wasn't working today," Mattingly said.

In four innings, the right-hander gave up six runs, matching the most he has given up since opening day with the Miami Marlins. The two home runs he gave up also matched a season high.

The loss not only dropped Latos' season record to 4-8, but it left him 2-4 against potential playoff opponents.

"You leave the ball over the middle of the plate to good hitters, you pay the price," said Latos, speaking barely above a whisper. "It sucks. The offense showed up today. The defense showed up today. I didn't."

The Dodgers had multihit performances by Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Van Slyke and Alex Guerrero, a sterling defensive play by right fielder Yasiel Puig and a 418-foot home run by Enrique Hernandez.

"Other than the loss and Mat not pitching well, a lot of good things happened out there today," Mattingly said.

Up next

Left-hander Alex Wood (7-7, 3.65 ERA) opposes right-hander Charlie Morton (7-4, 4.19) on Sunday at 5 p.m. PDT at PNC Park. TV: ESPN; Radio: 570, 1020.

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