MLB: Dodgers get the bats going, avoid sweep

Published 12:51 am Friday, June 7, 2024

By WILL GRAVES AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH   — Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Teoscar Hernandez homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-7 on Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.

Freeman hit a three-run shot in the first for his eighth home run of the season. Betts added a three-run shot of his own during a six-run fifth inning as Los Angeles beat Pittsburgh for just the sixth time in their last 16 meetings despite a relatively quiet night from Shohei Ohtani, who went 1 for 6 with a run scored.

“It was good offensively,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I felt really good up and down the lineup. There was some situational stuff. Mookie came to life. Teo finally got some results, which was good for him.”

Oneil Cruz crushed a 462-foot home run that splashed into the Allegheny River for the Pirates, the sixth-longest homer in the majors so far this season. It wasn’t nearly enough as Pittsburgh missed a chance for their first three-game sweep of the Dodgers since 2015.

Los Angeles broke against Bailey Falter (3-3). Hernandez finished with three hits, including a go-ahead home run leading off the fifth that chased Falter.

“Teoscar is a good hitter, especially against lefties,” said Falter, who gave up five runs in four innings plus. “Just got to be a little bit more smart.”

Miguel Rojas added three hits and drove in a pair of runs as the high-powered Dodgers generated a little bit of momentum ahead of a three-game interleague series in the Bronx this weekend against the New York Yankees.

“We know it’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Betts said. “They’re going to come ready to play. We have to so we have to play.”

Los Angeles erupted for 14 hits, though Ohtani spent most of the night watching his teammates go to work. The superstar designated hitter, who homered and singled off Pirates rookie Paul Skenes on Wednesday, is batting just .225 (14 of 62) since May 29.

Michael Grove (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of an ineffective Walker Buehler.

Nick Gonzales had two hits, including a two-run blast off Buehler in the third briefly tied it at 4. Ke’Bryan Hayes had his first three-hit game of the season for Pittsburgh.

Buehler labored through three innings, his shortest outing of the season in his return from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of 2023. The right-hander gave up four runs (three earned) and seven hits. He needed 78 pitches to get nine outs, though it would have helped if his teammates had done a better job catching the ball.

The Dodgers committed three errors, including two by Betts, who transitioned from right field to shortstop during the offseason.

“I’ve got to clean up a lot of things,” Betts said.

The Pirates weren’t much better in the field, as a wild throw to second by catcher Henry Davis let Enrique Hernández score from third during Los Angeles’ outburst in the fifth.

Pittsburgh took the first two games of the series behind the electric young arms of rookie pitchers Skenes and Jared Jones.

Falter wasn’t nearly as sharp. Los Angeles batted around in the first inning, highlighted by Freeman’s shot to the seats about the 21-foot-high Clemente Wall in right. While Falter settled down and made it to the fifth, he was pulled after giving up Hernandez’s leadoff homer in the fifth that put the Dodgers ahead to stay.


Pirates: Transferred LHP Ryan Borucki (wrist) from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. The move allowed Pittsburgh to sign reliever Justin Bruihl, who opted out of a minor-league deal with Cincinnati last week.


Dodgers: Rookie pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (6-2, 3.32 ERA) heads to the Big Apple when he starts for Los Angeles on Friday against New York’s Cody Poteet (2-0, 2.45)

Pirates: Welcome AL Central-leading Minnesota to PNC Park for a weekend series starting Friday. Mitch Keller (7-3, 3.42) starts for Pittsburgh against Joe Ryan (4-4, 3.38).