Dodgers’ homers sink free-falling Pirates
Joc Pederson, Yaisel Puig and Cody Bellinger hit home runs and the surging Los Angeles Dodgers slugged their way past the free-falling Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 on Tuesday night.
Pederson hit a two-run shot off Joe Musgrove (2-1) in the second inning, Puig led off the fourth with his seventh of the season and Bellinger drilled a long blast that smacked off the batter’s eye in center field against reliever Tyler Glasnow in the sixth.
Ross Stripling (4-1) remained unbeaten as a starter this season, striking out seven while giving up four singles in five innings. The Dodgers have won four straight and 14 of 18 to pull back to .500 (30-30) for the first time since April 24.
The Pirates are heading in the opposite direction. Pittsburgh has dropped been shut out three times in a week and dropped 13 of 17 overall to fall to .500 (30-30) for the first time this season.
Musgrove was dominant in his first two starts for the Pirates but surrendered four runs, three earned in five innings and his struggles against Pederson continued. The Los Angeles center fielder hit two home runs off Musgrove in the 2017 World Series when Musgrove worked as a reliever for the Houston Astros.
Musgrove cruised through the first inning but Matt Kemp led off the second with a single and Pederson’s high drive to left settled into the seats halfway up the wall in right to give the Dodgers a lead Pittsburgh never came close to threatening.
Two days after being held hitless into the ninth in a road loss to St. Louis, the Pirates weren’t much better back home.
Stripling moved into the starting rotation out of necessity in late April and is making a case to stay there regardless of who is available. He improved to 4-0 with a 0.72 ERA in his last four starts and worked out of the only real trouble he faced when he forced Josh Harrison to fly out with the bases loaded in the fifth.
Bellinger, who entered mired in a 5-for-54 slump, sent a curveball from Glasnow above the bushes beyond the center-field fence and the Dodgers were in firm control.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was given the day off to deal with an achy wrist. ... LHP Rich Hill (blisters) pitched three innings, two with a cover on the problematic spot on the middle finger with his left hand and another inning without the cover. Manager Dave Roberts said the team will try to see if Hill can be stretched out next time. While the 38-year-old has volunteered to work out of the bullpen, Roberts indicated it’s more likely he returns to the rotation when he’s ready to come off the disabled list.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (sprained right ring finger) threw around 30 pitches in a simulated game without complications. Manager Clint Hurdle said the team will know more about Nova’s next step today. ... SS Jordy Mercer was scratched shortly before first pitch due to flu-like symptoms.