Shane Victorino a powerful pest in Dodgers’ 5-4 win over Pirates
The Dodgers did not acquire Shane Victorino so he could send balls rocketing over fences.
They got him to be a leadoff guy. To bring some stability to left field. To do what he does best -- be a pest.
Yet despite his 5-foot-9 frame, he does pack some power in his 190 pounds, which the Pirates know all too well, particularly after the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory in Pittsburgh on Monday night.
Victorino doubled in the Dodgers’ first run. After the Pirates had tied the score, 2-2, he drove a two-run homer in the fifth inning off Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens. He also scored twice and had a sacrifice bunt.
Victorino has actually averaged a healthy 13 home runs over his last six seasons, so there’s no shock factor. And right now he has a seven-game hitting streak going (.367 average, seven runs).
With Aaron Harang (8-7) holding the Pirates to two runs in his six innings, the Dodgers improved their record in the Eastern time zone this season to 10-1 and got their little seven-game wild card run off to a nice start.
The Dodgers started the day trailing co-leaders Pittsburgh and Atlanta by 2½ games for the lead in the National League wild-card race. Monday was the first of four games in Pittsburgh, before the Dodgers head to Atlanta for three.
The Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead Monday in the third inning after A.J. Ellis doubled and Victorino doubled him home and Matt Kemp singled in Victorino. Garrett Jones made a remarkable running, leaping stab of an Andre Ethier drive at the wall to prevent more damage.
The Pirates, however, tied it back up in the bottom of the inning when Jones -- who went four for four on the night -- doubled in two runs.
Victorino’s first home run as a Dodger, and 10th on the season, gave the Dodgers their 4-2 lead in the fifth, and then the Dodgers scored what would prove to be the winning run in the eighth after they loaded the bases with one out on two walks and Ethier getting hit by a Juan Cruz pitch.
Pinch-hitter Juan Rivera singled in the winning run, but Adam Kennedy’s grounder forced Ethier at the plate and Ellis struck out.
The Pirates made it a one-run game in the bottom of the inning when Ronald Belisario couldn’t snare an Andrew McCutchen comebacker and Jones doubled him home. A Michael McKenry single scored Jones to pull the Pirates within one.
Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the victory and earn his 24th save.
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