The Los Angeles Dodgers are close to having their regular lineup on the field at long last, but there are no indications they are close to being the team they thought they were.
It was another anemic performance for the Dodgers' offense, which ranks 13th in the National League in runs scored. The Dodgers made it interesting in the ninth inning, getting the first two runners on, but closer Jason Grilli got a key strikeout on a 3-and-2 pitch. He elevated a 93 mph fastball and Adrian Gonzalez couldn't catch up to it.
Earlier in the day, four Dodgers had been handed suspensions stemming from their wild brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, and manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Mark McGwire were not in the dugout. Bench coach Trey Hillman managed the game.
The Dodgers could get Matt Kemp back in the next few days, which would mean they essentially are at full strength in terms of position players. Carl Crawford remains on the disabled list, but the Dodgers seem to have a capable replacement in rookie Yasiel Puig, who had two more hits and is batting .487 in his second week in the majors.
The Pirates ran the bases more aggressively in the late innings and it seemed to tip the game in their favor.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Jerry Hairston Jr. ripped a double into the left-center field gap. The left fielder, Alex Presley, cut it off and third-base coach Tim Wallach threw up the stop sign as Andre Ethier approached third base. A few pitches later, a wild pitch dribbled about 40 feet up the third-base line and Ethier opted not to try for home.
Andrew McCutchen, meanwhile, successfully tested the Dodgers' defense an inning later. He tagged up and scored on a foul pop-up to Gonzalez, challenging the Dodgers' first baseman to make an awkward, off-balance throw that drifted off line. Puig might have been able to make the catch and would have had a much easier throw, but he never appeared to call off Gonzalez.