Cleaning up: Pirates beat Dodgers 8-4 for rare sweep in LA
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nothing like sweeping one of the most feared lineups in baseball to give the young Pittsburgh Pirates a major boost of confidence.
“Pretty cool,” grinned first baseman Michael Chavis.
Bryan Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, Rodolfo Castro drove in four runs in three innings, and the Pirates beat the Dodgers 8-4 on Wednesday night to complete their first sweep in Los Angeles in nearly 22 years.
“I’m really proud of our group because we’re running out a really young group of players, a bunch of rookies,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said, “and to come into this environment and to do that, it’s pretty special.”
The NL West-leading Dodgers lost their third in a row for the first time since dropping four straight from May 11-14 against the Pirates and Phillies. They were swept for the first time this season and lost five of six to the Pirates.
It doesn’t get any easier. The New York Mets are in town for a series starting Thursday between the NL’s two top teams.
The scrappy Pirates turned four double plays and improved to 11-13 on the road with their first sweep of the Dodgers since Aug. 7-9, 2015. They hadn’t swept a series at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 4-6, 2000.
“It just shows them they can play with anybody,” Shelton said.
Chase De Jong (1-0) got the win, giving up one hit in 1 1/3 innings. He struck out one and walked one in his first outing in a week.
Reynolds’ two-out shot off Mitch White (1-1) in the fifth gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead. They took an early lead for the third straight game on Josh VanMeter’s RBI single in the first.
Chavis doubled leading off the eighth and Castro followed with a two-run blast — his first of the season — that traveled 413 feet into the loge level, extending the Pirates’ lead to 5-2. He went 2 for 2 and drove two more runs on a shallow single to right in the ninth after replacing the injured VanMeter in the sixth.
“That was huge,” Chavis said of Castro’s performance. “It’s tough coming off the bench and he’s going to be big for us.”
Mookie Betts had a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth for the Dodgers, who pounded out 12 hits.
The Dodgers tied the game 1-all in the fourth on Chris Taylor’s RBI line-drive single that scored Trea Turner. Turner led off with a scorching line-drive double into the left field corner to extend his 24-game hitting streak, tops in the majors this season.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in that inning, but the Pirates turned their first double play of the game to squash the threat.
Hanser Alberto grounded into a 5-3-5 double play in the sixth. The Dodgers challenged the call at third base, where Ke’Bryan Hayes fielded the ball. He threw across the diamond to first baseman Chavis, who got Alberto and fired back to third, where a sliding Taylor was called out.
It was typical of how things went for the Dodgers in the series when they had runners either picked off or thrown out.
In the seventh, the Dodgers had runners on second and third, when Turner flied out to center. Reynolds made the catch and a pinpoint throw to the plate to erase Gavin Lux and end the inning.
In the eighth, Taylor singled before Edwin Ríos hit a comebacker on the first pitch to Chris Stratton, who turned and threw to second to start the Pirates’ fourth double play.
Pirates starter José Quintana allowed two runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out three and walked one.
White gave up three runs and four hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out a career-high seven and walked two.
Pirates: VanMeter was removed because of left hand discomfort.
Dodgers: OF Cody Bellinger (left leg tightness) wasn’t in the lineup for the third straight day, but entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth. … LHP Clayton Kershaw (pelvis) threw a bullpen session. He’ll head out on a rehab assignment Saturday.
Pirates: RHP JT Brubaker (0-4, 4.15 ERA) starts Friday in the home opener of a three-game series against Arizona. He’s gotten just two runs of support in his last four starts.
Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (5-0, 1.80) faces the Mets for the first time in his career on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series with the NL East leaders.
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