In the final game of their series in Dodger Stadium, on a day when the home team failed to launch a ball out of the park, the Pirates hung close enough that Kenley Jansen had to called on to close it out for Los Angeles, but Pittsburgh’s 6-4 loss was an inevitable ending to three games in which they were totally dominated.
After ten days of warming Pedro Ciriaco’s seat, Clay Holmes was summoned from his inactivity by Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle who needed an emergency starting pitcher in the wake of Joe Musgrove landing on the disabled list with an infected finger. For Holmes, a starter in the minors, it would be his first major league start after two mop-up relief appearances. He touched 99 and sat at 96 mph on the radar gun, but perhaps trying to avoid the fate of Ivan Nova the day before, where the Dodgers’ first two swings of the game ended up with balls in the seats for home runs, only 15 of Holmes’ 35 first inning pitches found the strike zone.
It could have been much worse, with three walks wrapped around an RBI single by Yasmani Grandal, but Kike Hernandez was called out on strikes with the bases loaded, leaving the Dodgers ahead only 1-0 after an inning. The Pirates would even take the lead in the third as Jordy Mercer doubled and Max Moroff walked to open that innings against Dodgers’ starter Rich Hill. Holmes failed to bunt the runners over as Mercer was thrown at out third base, but Holmes did race around the bases with the go ahead run when with two outs Starling Marte laced a double into the left field corner.
But that lead was short lived as Holmes caught too much of the strike zone in the bottom of the third. Max Muncy led off with a single (at least it wasn’t a homer), but with one out both Cody Bellinger and Grandal doubled to right and after a wild pitch Grandal doubled on Chris Taylor’s single. Rich Rodriguez got out of the inning and pitched a scoreless fifth as well, but Tyler Glasnow threw the final can of gas on the fire in the sixth, allowing a pair of runs with recording an out on a hit batter, walk and single, the last run coming across on a Yasiel Puig base hit off Edgar Santana.
The Pirates showed some signs of life when Gregory Polanco hit his 12th home run of the season, off the lefty Scott Alexander, to close the gap to 6-4, down only a pair of runs. Jansen was called on right there with one out in the eighth and allowed a single to David Freese, but ended the threat by getting Colin Moran, the potential tying run, to ground out. Corey Dickerson slapped a hit to left with two outs in the ninth, again brining the tying run to the plate, but Jansen got the save as Austin Meadows struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch.
After a merciful day off, the Pirates return home to take on the Phillies, who swept the Pirates in Philadelphia earlier in the season. The game will be at 7:05 pm Eastern on Friday night, as Trevor Williams (6-6, 4.22) faces Nick Pivetta (5-7, 4.66)