An angry A.J. Burnett outperformed the even angrier Los Angeles Dodgers.
Garrett Jones hit two three-run homers, Burnett became the first Pirates pitcher with 15 wins in 13 years, and Pittsburgh avoided a four-game sweep with a 10-6 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday.
Jones had a career-high six RBIs, and Pedro Alvarez also homered for the Pirates, who had lost six of seven. Pittsburgh had won just three of 10 during its longest homestand of the season.
”He came out knowing what’s at hand here, and to put a foot down,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ”Then the game probably added to his edge, sharpened his edge, just because the game was all over the place.”
Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp and manager Don Mattingly were ejected during the top of the second inning, setting off a lengthy argument that was mostly directed at home plate umpire Angel Campos.
Los Angeles starter Joe Blanton later ran toward Campos as he was walking off the field after being removed following Alvarez’s homer. Ramirez also drew Campos’ ire for throwing his bat down in disgust after striking out in the sixth.
”We came here having won the first three games of the series. We’re not a frustrated team,” Mattingly said. ”We’re not trying to cause any trouble. It’s not like we’ve lost 10 of 11 and looking for a fight. We’re here ready to play baseball. To have Matt taken out of the game is not right.”
The Dodgers, who lead the NL West by a half-game over San Francisco, had a four-game winning streak snapped. James Loney and Hanley Ramirez homered for Los Angeles.
The Pirates avoided a season sweep by the Dodgers, who had beaten them nine straight times, dating to last year. The Dodgers were looking for their first four-game sweep in Pittsburgh in 63 years.
Alvarez hit his 22nd home run as part of a 3-for-4 day. Clint Barmes added three RBIs for the Pirates, who entered the day tied with St. Louis for the NL’s second wild card spot.
Burnett (15-4) allowed six runs, seven hits, and a walk, and he two hit batsmen, but he was good enough to become the first Pirates pitcher to win 15 games since Todd Ritchie in 1999.
Burnett had seven strikeouts and bounced back from his first home loss of the season on Saturday.
Burnett, who called a players meeting before Wednesday’s game, got angry after the Dodgers took their only lead in the fourth when Ramirez hit a two-run homer.
As Ramirez rounded second base during his home-run trot, he circled his eyes with his fingers as he turned in the direction of Burnett. The gesture is a trademark of Ramirez’s.
”If you’re going to hit a homer, act like you’ve hit one before,” Burnett said. ”The first batter, Loney, hit one, was very professional about it. Ran hard the whole way. I just thought he did a little something at second base. I could be wrong. It was heat of the moment.”
When Ramirez struck out swinging to end the sixth, Burnett screamed at him as he walked off the mound. Ramirez was reprimanded by Campos for throwing his bat, and the two had a somewhat-heated discussion.
”I was just excited to get him out,” Burnett said. ”Every time someone clicks one off you, you want to get him out the next time up. He drove one that went pretty far, and then I was able to get him out so I was pretty fired up.”
That incident wasn’t close to being the most contentious moment of the game.
Kemp struck out to end the first. He and Mattingly confirmed that the Dodgers dugout was barking about balls and strikes when Andre Ethier led off the following inning, prompting Campos to deliver an unofficial warning to the Dodgers dugout.
”Then I said, `Let’s go `Dre,’ and he tossed me out of the game,” Kemp said. ”You’ve got two teams going at it in a pennant race. We’re trying to build the lead against the Giants and Arizona, and I get thrown out for cheering my teammate.”
Kemp’s ejection angered Mattingly, who sprinted out to Campos. Kemp wasn’t far behind, and needed to be restrained, at different times, by Mattingly, teammate Shane Victorino, bench coach Trey Hillman and other umpires. He bumped into an umpire at least once.
After a few minutes of arguing, Mattingly was ejected by crew chief Tim Tschida. Mattingly stayed on the field for several more minutes of animated discussion before an umpire summoned Hillman to come out to retrieve Mattingly.
”This isn’t about being mad,” Mattingly said. ”This is something that has to go above me. It needs to go to the league. We’re in a pennant race, and I’ve got a guy who was second in the MVP (voting) last year, and you can’t take him out of the game for cheering for a teammate. If we had gone out of control, that’s different. This is just unacceptable behavior (by Campos).”
Mattingly’s ejection was his sixth this season; Kemp was tossed for the first time.
Loney homered two batters after play resumed. It was his first home run since May 21 and third of the season.
Blanton (8-11) fell to 0-2 since being acquired in a trade from Philadelphia. Blanton gave up eight runs, seven hits and a season-high four walks in 4 1-3 innings.
Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen were on base both times Jones homered, in the first and fifth innings. The second shot to right elicited a curtain call for Jones, who has 20 home runs this season and five career two-homer games.
Notes: A day after dislocating the pinky finger on his right hand, Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker received ”all good news” from a hand specialist on Thursday morning. Walker said he had no ligament damage and can’t further injure the finger. He won’t go on the disabled list, but will monitor swelling and pain tolerance associated with swinging a bat against live pitching. … Before the game, the Pirates recalled right-hander Jared Hughes and utility player Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Indianapolis. Reliever Chad Qualls was placed on the bereavement list, and left-hander Jeff Locke was optioned to the minors. … The Pirates will play the Cardinals in six of their next 12 games, starting with a weekend series in St. Louis that begins on Friday. … The Dodgers travel to Atlanta to complete their 10-game road trip with three games against the Braves.