Dodgers blow late lead, outlast Pirates in extras

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Clayton Kershaw can’t
catch a break in the win column. It’s a sacrifice he can accept so long
as the Los Angeles Dodgers find other ways to get it done.

Juan Uribe singled home Andre Ethier in
the top of the 11th inning and the Dodgers edged the Pittsburgh Pirates
5-3 on Saturday.

Ethier doubled off Vin Mazzaro (3-1)
leading off the 11th then raced home when Uribe’s chopper went over the
head of third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Nick Punto drove in Uribe with a
double to the gap one batter later to provide some insurance.

Peter Moylan (1-0) picked up the win
after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. Brandon League, who lost
his job as the closer to Kenley Jansen this week, managed the final
three outs for his 14th save.

Jansen surrendered a solo homer to
Pittsburgh’s Travis Snider in the ninth, but the Dodgers recovered to
improve to 13-2 in their last 15 games against the Pirates.

“Right now, every win is good,” Los
Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s what we’ve been kind of
talking about, staying afloat and treading water until we can put
together some semblance of a winning streak.”

Though Jansen blew the save, there is no plan to switch back to League.

“Kenley is throwing good,” Mattingly said. “I don’t want to start that up again.”

Kershaw scattered three hits over seven
innings while lowering his ERA to a National League-leading 1.84, but
failed to pick up his first win in three weeks when the Dodgers’ bullpen
faltered. Kershaw’s record remains stalled at 5-4 even though he’s
allowed three earned runs or fewer 14 of his 15 starts this season.

“You can control what you can control,”
Kershaw said. “The main thing is giving your team a chance to win the
game and we were able to win today.”

Ethier finished 3 for 5 with an RBI and
Skip Schumaker and Mark Ellis also drove in runs for Los Angeles, which
won for just the fourth time in its last 16 road games.

“It’s a little disappointing that he
didn’t get the win because he deserved it,” Ethier said of Kershaw.
“When you see them score a run in ninth, it’s a little sickening feeling
that one got away from him.”

Pittsburgh’s Brandon Cumpton allowed
three runs on seven hits in five-plus innings during his major league
debut. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced but faded as
the game wore on.

The Pirates had a chance to win it in
the 10th when Neil Walker smacked a ball down the right-field line with
Russell Martin on first. Los Angeles rookie right-fielder Yaisel Puig
had trouble with the ball, but Martin was held at third even as Puig’s
throw went well up the third-base line. The Dodgers intentionally walked
Pedro Alvarez and Mike McKenry flew out to right to extend the game.

League, who has blown four saves this
season, nearly made it five. The Pirates put runners on second and third
in the 11th, but Andrew McCutchen grounded out and Gaby Sanchez hit a
sinking liner to left that Schumaker tracked down.

Even with the victory, the
underachieving Dodgers remain nine games under .500 (29-38) as the
season nears its midway point.

“We’ve dug ourselves such a big hole
that we’ve got to put some winning streaks together,” Kershaw said. “We
can talk about it all day but we’ve got to start doing it.”

Kershaw is the third Cy Young winner
the Pirates have faced in five days. Pittsburgh beat San Francisco’s Tim
Lincecum and Barry Zito on Tuesday and Wednesday, knocking both around
in the process.

Not this time.

The Pirates went up 1-0 early when Alex
Presley doubled leading off and then scored on a fielder’s choice. That
would be about it. The Pirates put two runners on in the third and
sixth innings, but couldn’t scratch out a run, giving the Dodgers enough
time to figure out Cumpton.

The 24-year-old appeared immune to the
nerves early in his big league debut, striking out the side in the
first. He retired the first eight batters he faced before walking
Kershaw in the third.

The third trip through the lineup, however, proved problematic.

Schumaker drove in A.J. Ellis in the fifth to tie the game before Cumpton unraveled in the sixth.

Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double
and moved to third on Hanley Ramirez’s single. Ethier drove home
Gonzalez and Mark Ellis hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Justin Wilson
to put the Dodgers up 2-0.

Pittsburgh closed within a run in the
eighth on an RBI single by Walker, but reliever Paco Rodriguez got
Alvarez to ground out meekly to first to end the threat.

Jensen came on in the ninth and blew
his first save since inheriting the closer’s job from League when Snider
took a 2-2 fastball and put it well into the center-field seats for his
third homer of the year.

League allowed infield singles to Snider and Jordy Mercer in the 11th but survived.

NOTES:
Los Angeles reliever J.P. Howell began his two-game suspension for his
role in a brawl between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks this
week. Howell planned to appeal but dropped it on Saturday … Puig went 1
for 5 and has hit safely in 10 of 12 games since making his debut last
month. … The series wraps up on Sunday. Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole
(1-0, 2.84 ERA) faces Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.68 ERA).