PITTSBURGH -- Coming off an emotionally draining series in St. Louis followed by a flight through the wee hours of the morning and facing two upcoming games with the shaky back of their rotation, the Los Angeles Dodgers needed a win Monday night in Pittsburgh.
They got it and managed to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants for a share of first place in the NL West.
How it happened: The Dodgers broke out of their offensive malaise with 12 hits and had their biggest scoring outburst since July 8. Hyun-Jin Ryu gave them another stalwart outing, holding the Pirates to two runs on five hits over seven innings.
And being lucky doesn’t hurt, either. During their biggest inning in about three weeks, here in the fourth, they had two cooperative hits off ex-Dodger Edinson Volquez. A.J. Ellis’s grounder up the middle banged off the second-base bag and ricocheted into right field. A Justin Turner grounder took a bad hop and deflected off third baseman Josh Harrison for a two-run double.
Hits: Dee Gordon didn’t have much time to recharge at the All-Star Game. In addition to the usual demands of being an All-Star, he had a big family contingent in Minneapolis to usher around. But his energy level seems good so far out of the break. The Dodgers leadoff hitter has seven hits in 15 at-bats, including two doubles, and has scored a couple of runs, which have been hard to come by for the Dodgers lately. Gordon continues to dazzle at second base. He nearly robbed Andrew McCutchen of a hit in shallow right field, and he made a brilliant play up the middle to take a hit away from Harrison.
Misses: Andre Ethier had a nice night in St. Louis on Sunday, but he has been unable to maintain any momentum all season. He went 0-for-5 and is batting .143 in his past 10 games. He also is stuck on four home runs with August just nine days away, and that’s never a good look for someone who plays virtually every day, especially an outfielder. People wonder if the Dodgers will trade one of their outfielders. That’s easier said than done.
Stat of the game: The Dodgers have gone eight straight games without hitting a home run. That is their third-longest homerless stretch in the past 20 years. The most recent power drought of greater magnitude came from June 22 to July 2 in 2012. The payroll wasn't quite the equal of this season’s team.
Up next: Josh Beckett (6-5, 2.26 ERA) will come off the 15-day disabled list to start Tuesday night, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly confirmed. He will be opposed by Pittsburgh right-hander Vance Worley (2-1, 3.38) in a game that begins at 4:05 p.m. PT.