Andrew McCutchen looked like the Andrew McCutchen of previous years, the Pirates jumped on the Dodgers early, and they out-sequenced Los Angeles for a 5-1 win on Friday night.
Cutch put together a nice little highlight reel in the early innings, singling home a run, stealing a base and scoring himself in the first inning, making a running, leaping catch on Yasmani Grandal's deep liner in the second and hitting a solo home run to the opposite field in the third.
He finished 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and two driven in.
The Pirates took a 3-0 lead mainly on an arsenal of ground balls off Ross Stripling in the first. Josh Harrison beat out Corey Seager's throw (upon review) to lead the game off. After Starling Marte reached on a liner to center, McCutchen got a grounder past third baseman Justin Turner, allowing Harrison to score. Cutch stole second, then Seager couldn't quite make a play to first on David Freese's bouncer and Marte scored. Jordy Mercer grounded into a 6-3 putout, allowing McCutchen to score.
McCutchen robbed Grandal for the second out with nobody on in the second, but it turned out to be big as the next batter, Joc Pederson, doubled. He scored, beating a good throw to the plate by Gregory Polanco, on a Howie Kendrick single.
McCutchen homered in the third, Stripling rolled for a few innings, then in the seventh Mercer deposited some kind of hanging pitch into the left-field seats for a 5-1 Pirates lead.
Ivan Nova scattered nine hits about as well as one can in 5 1-3 innings, and he benefited from the pitcher-friendly confines of Dodger Stadium with seven flyouts to three groundouts. He issued no walks and struck out two.
Antonio Bastardo wiggled out of Nova's jam in the sixth, striking out Pederson and getting Kendrick to ground out. Felipe Rivero did Felipe Rivero things, including a strikeout of Enrique Hernandez on a 97 MPH fastball, in the seventh, then Neftali Feliz pitched the Bucs' only 1-2-3 inning of the night in the eighth.
The Dodgers got a couple more hits off Juan Nicasio in the ninth, but Tony Watson came on to get a Seager flyout for the final out.
The Dodgers had 12 hits in total. Kendrick went 3-for-4. Pederson had two doubled and Adrian Gonzalez had one, but those were the team's only extra-base hits for the Dodgers, victims of the whims of baseball as much as anything.