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Dodgers hold on to beat Pirates

Dodgers first baseman Matt Beaty hits a two-run RBI double.
Dodgers first baseman Matt Beaty hits a two-run RBI double to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Yet again, a Dodgers win won’t help them in the NL West standings.

After the Giants beat the Mets for the second straight night, a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates would only let the Dodgers keep pace with their rivals at four games back in the division.

Early in the night, it looked like the Dodgers would rue missed opportunities, as they stranded two runners in each of the first two innings. But two doubles in the third helped them break through and they eventually got to Pirates starter Wil Crowe and reliever Cody Ponce for two runs apiece, setting the table for a lead that would hold for the rest of the game.

Despite putting the go-ahead runner on first with one out in the ninth inning, Kenley Jansen induced a pop-out from Ben Gamel and a ground out from Hoy Park to close out the win.

Here are three observations from the game.

He pitches 7.1 shutout innings as Dodgers win all three games of series with Pittsburgh.

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Seager stays hot with two doubles

The Dodgers got their leadoff man on base in each of the first three innings of Tuesday night’s contest. But it wasn’t until the third inning — when Corey Seager led off with a double — that they followed through by scoring a run.

A two-run single by A.J. Pollock scored Seager and Cody Bellinger to plate the first two runs of the game for the Dodgers and the first of two Seager would score in the game. The second came in the fifth inning, when Seager led off with another double — this one bouncing into the covered area of the bleachers in left-center field — before coming around to score when Matt Beaty doubled in two runs.

For Seager, it was the latest in a red-hot stretch since he’s come off the injured list. After returning from a broken fifth metacarpal on July 30, Seager was slashing .309/.381/.455 heading into Tuesday’s game. He reached first three appearances against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, walking in addition to the two doubles before striking out to begin the seventh inning.

“I think the last week has been what we’re gonna see the rest of the season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Swinging at strikes, taking balls. Hitting the ball hard to all fields.”

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager gets high-fives in the dugout after scoring against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager gets high-fives in the dugout after scoring against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third inning at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Lux makes two errors in his first start at third base

You could argue that Gavin Lux made the right decision. But the result didn’t look pretty.

In the top of the fourth with Bryan Reynolds on third, Jacob Stallings hit a ground ball to Lux — starting his first major league game at third base. Instead of taking the easy out at first base, Lux made the aggressive call and threw home. The throw was off line and went to the backstop, allowing Reynolds to score and tie it up at two, and letting Stallings get to second base.

Starting Lux at third in his first game off the injured list was an inventive way to get him in the lineup with Trea Turner and Corey Seager playing both middle infield positions. Roberts said before the game that Lux might even play at right field a bit this year.

“I always try to take ground balls over there [at third], kinda messing around in early work and stuff,” Lux said before the game. “But it’s similar, like reading the ball off the bat, at short, so it’s not too different.”

An inning after his first error, Lux made a second throwing mishap on a routine ground ball. When Justin Turner pinch-hit for Corey Knebel in the sixth inning, he replaced Lux at third on defense.

Afterward, asked about Lux’s struggles, Roberts started by saying, “Well he hasn’t played a lot of third.”

The 20 innings Lux played at third base during his rehab assignment represent the whole of his professional experience playing third base prior to Tuesday. But when the Dodgers traded for Turner, Lux suggested playing the position to Roberts, knowing it was a way to get more playing time and help the team.

“I appreciate him [being] willing to take on the challenge to be over there,” Roberts said. “And that’s growth for him. He’ll be at second base tomorrow and I expect him to help us win a ballgame.”

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Betts could be back soon

After spending the last 10 days recovering from a bone spur, Mookie Betts will resume baseball activities on Thursday, according to Roberts.

“I don’t wanna put a date on Mookie,” Roberts said. “Body’s moving well in the weight room, moving around. He’s gonna be doing baseball activities Thursday so we’ll see where that takes him.”

Betts received a cortisone injection last Thursday to help ease the pain in his hip stemming from the bone spur. The plan is for him to try and get through the season without surgery before addressing that question in the offseason.”


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