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Late inning outbursts lift Dodgers over Pirates in 10-3 rout

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The Pirates and Dodgers engaged in a pitching duel for five innings before the wheels fell off and LA scored 4 in the sixth and 5 in the eighth en route to a 10-3 scalding of the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen homered twice for the Pirates in the loss.

Dodgers 10, Pirates 3
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA

Through five frames, Pirates starter Kevin Correia matched his L.A. counterpart, Ted Lilly, by keeping the Dodgers off the scoreboard. Correia's bid for his sixth win of the season went up in smoke after that, however, as L.A. lashed him for four runs in the sixth inning and never looked back, pummeling Pittsburgh's bullpen late for a 10-3 victory Tuesday night at PNC Park. Andrew McCutchen popped a pair of home runs for the Bucs, but the Dodgers (17-20) tallied a season-high 15 hits to bounce the Pirates (18-18) back to the break-even mark.

Jamey Carroll, who reached base four times Tuesday night, began the Dodgers' rally in the sixth with a two-out single to center field. Aaron Miles (3-for-5 on the night) dropped down a line-hugging bunt down the third base line that Brandon Wood let go in hopes of it rolling foul, but the ball stayed inside the chalk.

Andre Ethier followed by swatting a high-and-tight cutter from Correia that broke his bat but evaded the reach of a diving Neil Walker, bringing home the game's first run.

With runners on the corners, Matt Kemp stepped to the dish and wasted no time kicking off L.A.'s scoring binge. The Dodgers' cleanup hitter crushed a middle-in, first pitch fastball over the center field wall for a three-run homer.

"It was just a bad pitch," Correia said of the 88 MPH fastball he left over the plate to Kemp. "It's just one bad pitch at the worst possible time."

"You've got Carroll, who hit everybody all night, and you got a bunt hit in the infield and you got a broken bat hit that if it's down [Corriea's pitch], it's a ground ball," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He had a couple of occasions where he's kinda left the ball up right where he didn't want to get it. And he got torched."

The Pirates chipped away at L.A.'s lead in the bottom half of the inning, with McCutchen turning on a mid-80s fastball that Lilly left up and over the plate and driving it into the left field bleachers for a lead-off home run. Jose Tabata hit a double on a liner to left center that Jerry Sands couldn't cut off and came around to score later on a Walker sac fly.

But after that, things got truly ugly for the Bucs.

Rod Barajas hit a one-out double in the top of the seventh. Sands then hit a line drive back to Correia, with the ball ricocheting over to first baseman Pearce. Correia broke to cover the bag and Pearce tried to hit him with a behind-the-back flip, but the ball sailed into foul territory, allowing Barajas to score.

Correia (5-3) exited the game after Pearce's miscue, finishing the night with 10 hits and five runs (four earned) allowed in 6.1 innings pitched. He struck out two and walked none.

Daniel Moskos got the final two outs in the seventh, but the Dodgers torched Mike Crotta and Chris Resop.

Crotta allowed three straight singles to Ethier, Kemp and Uribe in the top of the eighth to make it 6-2 Dodgers. Crotta then loaded the bases by uncorking a wild pitch and walking James Loney. Resop took over and walked both Sands and reliever Matt Guerrier to force in two runs. A Miles single later in the inning brought home two more to give the Dodgers double-digit runs.

McCutchen hit his second solo shot of the game in the bottom of the eighth, but the Dodgers had long since removed any doubt about the game's outcome as lighting and rain crept toward PNC Park.

Lilly, who topped the 1,500 career strikeout mark in his start against the Bucs, tossed six strong innings to earn his third victory of the season. Maxing out at 88 MPH with his fastball, Lilly mixed in slow curves, sharp low-80s sliders and high-70s changeups to keep the Bucs off balance. He gave up two earned runs, allowing four hits and one walk while punching out four Pirates hitters.

Lilly tossed 71 of his 97 pitches for strikes (73.2 percent). While the lefty entered play with one of the 10 lowest ground ball rates among NL starters, he got 8 grounders and six flies against Pittsburgh.

"[The game] kinda got away from us at the end," McCutchen said. "It's just one of the games we kind of have to shake off. We're not going to mope for the rest of the night. We're gonna shake it off and put on a new pair of clothes for tomorrow. That's why we play 162 games."

Third baseman Pedro Alvarez was out of the Pirates' lineup for the fifth time in six games Tuesday night with a nagging right quadriceps injury. Alvarez played a full nine frames Monday evening, but he awoke with renewed soreness on Tuesday. Brandon Wood started in Alvarez's place, going 0-for-4 at the plate. Alvarez did get a pinch-hit appearance in the bottom of the seventh, however, batting for Ronny Cedeno and grounding into a fielder's choice. Alvarez then stayed in the game to play third base, with Wood shifting to shortstop.

Second baseman Neil Walker got serious hang time while robbing Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas of a base hit in the top of the third inning. Barajas lined a first-pitch fastball from Correia into shallow center field, but Walker glided over, leapt and snared the ball, tumbling in the grass after making the catch.

The Pirates signed outfielder Matt Diaz to a two-year free agent contract this past winter to provide the club with some power, particularly against left-handed pitching. After a 1-for-4 night at the plate, the 32-year-old has scuffled to the tune of a .239/.261/.313 line in 2011. A major reason for Diaz's anemic start is that he's falling behind in the count. Entering play Tuesday night, Diaz had the highest first-pitch strike percentage (76.9) among MLB batters with at least 50 plate appearances. The major league average for first-pitch strike percentage is 59, according to Fangraphs.com.

Mike Crotta was charged with four runs while failing to record an out Tuesday night, while Chris Resop walked in a pair and got an earful from pitching coach Ray Searage in the dugout.

Hurdle thinks that Crotta's mechanics and overreliance on his sinker are getting him in trouble.

"He hasn't been able to repeat his delivery probably as much as he'd like," Hurdle said of Crotta. "There's been a little drift, he's been spraying the ball a little bit, and you saw today some good pitches down and then an elevated ball that's barreled up. That's been pretty much the M.O. He hasn't been able to go to a secondary pitch with much success at all."

Hurdle also said that Resop, who has given up six runs in his last three appearances, should benefit from Searage's tough love.

"There's a time for the pat on the back, and there's a time for the pat on the backside," Hurdle said. "Athletes, they respond to that. Timing is everything and presentation can help, but that's just coaching."

Hurdle liked what he saw from McCutchen mechanically at the plate Tuesday night. "It's been so close at times where he's holding his backside good and getting that barrel out in front of him, and then you saw a night like last night where it's just a click off and he hit four fly balls and just wasn't on time," Hurdle said. "Then he shows up again tonight where he holds that backside and he's squaring that ball up off his front foot and it looks so pretty and it looks effortless."

"He's been close, and I've expected him to get on a tear anytime soon and tonight's more evidence of the fact that it might have already started," Hurdle said.

For over two decades, Kenny Geidel's shrill calls for lemonade, Coke, beer and other ball park staples turned heads (and popped eardrums) at Pirates, Penguins and Steelers games. Sadly, the 64-year-old vendor passed away on Monday. Prior to Tuesday's game, the Pirates honored the boisterous Geidel with a moment of silence.

With four K's against the Pirates Tuesday night, Dodgers starter Ted Lilly surpassed the 1,500 career strikeout mark. The 35-year-old lefty, originally a Dodgers farm hand who has also pitched for the Expos, Yankees, Athletics, Blue Jays and Cubs, became the 17th active pitcher to reach the 1,500 career K mark.

Dodgers reliever Blake Hawksworth left the game in the seventh inning with a strained right groin.

Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (3-3, 3.69 ERA) will take on southpaw Paul Maholm (1-4, 3.68 ERA) Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Maholm hasn't gotten any love from his teammates in 2011 -- the Pirates have provided him with just 11 runs of support in his seven starts, the lowest level of offensive backing among qualified major league starting pitchers.

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