At first, the Dodgers looked helpless. Five of the first six batters struck out against Pirates rookie Brandon Cumpton. Clayton Kershaw gave up a run in the first when he gave up a double, two walks, and Hanley Ramirez airmailed a double play relay throw to let a run score.
But things got better in the fifth when Skip Schumaker singled home A.J. Ellis. The Dodgers drove Cumpton out of the game with two runs in the sixth.
They took a 3-1 lead to the eighth (thanks in part to Schumaker robbing Russell Martin of a 3-run homer in the 6th). Don Mattingly turned the game over to Chris Withrow. Because the other options weren’t much better.
After giving up a single and a walk, Withrow struck out Gaby Sanchez and Martin. Mattingly then opted to put switch hitter Neil Walker on his weaker side and brought in Paco Rodriguez. Walker singled in a run to make it 3-2, but that was it.
In the 9th, it was time for Kenley Jansen to close it out. Except for the pesky fact of Travis Snider tying the game with a home run. And so they played on.
In the bottom of the 10th, Peter Moylan retired the first two batters, but walked Martin and gave up a double to Walker. Martin held at third despite a less than accurate throw home by Yasiel Puig in right. After an intentional walk, pinch hitter Michael McKenry flied out.
The Dodgers hadn’t had anyone reach base since the sixth, but Andre Etheir led off the 11th with a double. Mark Ellis sacrificed because that’s what you do I guess. Juan Uribe singled home Ethier. After a wild pitch, Uribe came home with two outs on a pinch double by Nick Punto.
And now it was time for the Return of the Closer: Brandon League. Snider led off with an infield single. Alex Presley grounded into a force play as Ramirez couldn’t make the relay throw again. Jordy Mercer singled. Dodgers fans sighed. Others cowered in fear.
League threw a wild pitch, putting the tying runs in scoring position.
Dodgers fans started to ask if they could get overnight shipping from Amazon on some strychnine.
Andrew McCutchen grounded out to third.
Some people hit “cancel order” with Amazon.
Sanchez hit a liner to left that Schumaker tracked down and all was well in Dodgerdom for a day. Moylan picked up the first win by an Aussie pitcher for the Dodgers since Luke Prokopec on September 20, 2001.
Zack Greinke versus 2011 #1 overall pick Gerrit Cole Sunday afternoon. And later on Sunday, Cole’s alma mater, UCLA, takes on LSU in the College World Series in Omaha.
There’s an 80% chance of rain tomorrow in Pittsburgh. Plan accordingly.