Pedro Alvarez's three-run homer proved to be the difference in the Pirates' 6-3 victory over Zack Greinke and the Dodgers Sunday.
Gerrit Cole went 5.2 innings in his second big-league start, striking out one. He still hasn't walked a batter in the majors.
"I think there's a few times where I wish I had a better breaking ball today, or I wish I had a better changeup, to maybe generate a few more of those swings and misses," Cole said. "I was just fortunate that we had guys tracking down every fly ball that was hit, and all those weird ground balls, they were all handled accordingly."
Clint Hurdle's evaluation of Cole's start was similar.
"I actually think he pitched much better the first start. He just had to compete today. Didn't have much of a breaking ball. That kind of was hit-and-miss. He threw some changeups in to keep them off the fastball," said Hurdle. "That was just straight pitching with an edge today."
The Pirates scored two in the first on Garrett Jones' two-run double, but the Dodgers scored one in the second as Yasiel Puig singled, stole second (on a terrible throw by Michael McKenry), and came home on two groundouts. The Dodgers tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Andre Ethier.
Alvarez left the bases juiced when he grounded out in the third, but made up for that in the fifth, when Jones and Neil Walker reached base and Alvarez brought them home with a no-doubt homer to center to make it 5-2.
"We needed somebody to click one, and Pedro clicked one," Hurdle said.
The two teams traded runs in the sixth, with Alex Presley homering to right. Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli finished the game out as the Pirates maintained their three-run lead.
David Manel contributed to this post.