Dodgers avoid sweep by Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates' Erik Kratz (38) drives in two runs with a bases loaded double off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Scott Kazmir in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Monday, June 27, 2016. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A.J. Ellis hit a tiebreaking, two-out infield single that capped a four-run fifth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 Monday and salvage the finale of a four-game series.

Scott Kazmir (6-3), who entered with an 11.17 ERA at PNC Park, won despite allowing four runs, four hits and four walks in five innings. Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ sixth pitcher, got four outs for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

Francisco Liriano (4-8) led by four runs early and took a two-hitter and a 4-1 lead into the fifth, when he was chased by Yasiel Puig’s two-run, bases-loaded single.

Howie Kendrick greeted Jared Hughes with an RBI single, and Puig took third on a throwing error by catcher Erik Kratz. Kendrick stole second, Scott Van Slyke struck out and Ellis grounded to the outfield grass in the shortstop hole, giving the Dodgers their first lead of the series.

Before Jansen entered, Louis Coleman, J.P. Howell, Joe Blanton and Pedro Baez combined for 2 2/3 innings of one-hit relief.

Liriano gave up five runs – four earned – four hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings. He leads the NL with 59 walks – 13 more than Miami’s Tom Koehler, who is second.

Pittsburgh took a 4-0 lead in the first on Starling Marte’s RBI single, Sean Rodriguez’s bases-loaded walk and Kratz’s two-run single. Justin Turner began the comeback with a sacrifice fly in the third.


Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was scheduled to have Monday off, but after going 1 for 8 in the first two games in Pittsburgh, Gonzalez thought it was best to ask for a bigger break. Manager Dave Roberts agreed, letting the 34-year old take advantage of back-to-back days off by also resting him on Sunday.

“It’s good for me to just not think about hitting for a couple days,” Gonzalez said.


Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco did not start for the fourth straight game due to left leg injury. He pinch hit for the second consecutive game, striking out in the ninth.


Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (0-2, 4.33 ERA) will make one of his final two turns in the rotation to start a three-game series in Milwaukee. The Dodgers are giving 19-year-old a break; he pitched 80 innings last year and already has thrown a combined 68 in the minors and minors this season.

Pirates: Jonathon Niese (6-5, 4.93 ERA) will start the opener of a two-game series at Seattle. Niese has given up four runs or more in three consecutive starts.