The Pittsburgh Pirates entered this game 2-8 in its last 10 road games, but that did not matter in a 5-1 defeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night.
A three-run first inning set the Pirates on a path for victory against Dodgers starter Ross Stripling (3-4).
After the Pirates successfully challenged a Josh Harrison lead-off single, Starling Marte’s single set up the rest of the inning.
Andrew McCutchen singled on a 1-2 Stripling pitch bringing home the first run of this game. The Pirates are now 40-21 when they score first in a game.
Two batters later, David Freese added another single bringing home Marte. Freese has hit safely in his last eight games at Dodger Stadium.
Jordy Mercer then came up and his ground out fielder’s choice was enough to score McCutchen.
The Dodgers scored their lone run in the second inning.
Ivan Nova got the first two outs in rather quick order before allowing Joc Pederson to hit his 21st double of the season, extending the inning.
Howie Kendrick then singled and Pederson scored despite Gregory Polanco’s throw home. The Pirates unsuccessfully challenged the play.
Nova (9-6/2-0 with the Pirates) allowed nine hits in 5.1 innings of work. Dodgers Stadium is known for being a pitcher’s park and Nova had seven fly ball outs versus three ground ball outs in 82 pitches.
The Pirates responded to the Dodgers run half an inning later as McCutchen hit his 16th home run of the season to right field off Stripling.
This was McCutchen’s first home run since July 27.
One more run crossed home plate in this game for the Pirates with Mercer also homering off Stripling. For Mercer, it was his seventh home run of the season on a ball that landed in the left-center field seats.
After Nova departed, Antonio Bastardo got the final two outs of the sixth inning earning his ninth hold of the season.
Felipe Rivero pitched the seventh inning allowing a hit but striking out two Dodgers.
Neftali Feliz had a clean eighth inning, which lowered his ERA on the season to 3.00.
Juan Nicasio was called upon to pitch the ninth inning for Pittsburgh but mixed two strikeouts with singles to Kendrick and Chris Taylor.
With Kendrick in scoring position, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle turned to closer Tony Watson to get the save, meaning Nicasio would not be on the mound for the final out against his former team.
Watson needed four pitches to get Corey Seagar to fly out and end the game. For Watson, it was his fifth save of the season.
This series continues Saturday afternoon when Gerrit Cole (7-7, 2.94 ERA) faces Brandon McCarthy (2-2, 3.00 ERA). Cole is 3-0 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers.
Photo credit: @Pirates