PITTSBURGH -- Of the five other National League teams who would qualify for the postseason if it began today, the Los Angeles Dodgers don't have a winning record against a single one.
It's a good thing for them the playoffs don't start today. The Dodgers lost 6-5 to the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday at PNC Park, costing them another series to a contending team. The Dodgers have won just three series this season against teams with winning records.
How it happened: Making his second start for the Dodgers, Mat Latos labored, to put it kindly. Latos pitched four innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. He did not strike out a batter. Because Francisco Liriano struggled as well, the early innings moved at a glacial pace on a muggy afternoon. Liriano had a better day with his bat than on the mound, surprising for a couple of reasons. He had been dominant at home lately, and he is not known as a good-hitting pitcher. He sliced a ball into the stands near the left-field foul pole for a three-run home run in the second inning. Neil Walker later hit a solo shot off Latos.
The Dodgers were making steady progress in the early innings, but long reliever Joe Blanton, of all people, stabilized the game for Pittsburgh after Liriano left early, pitching three scoreless innings. The Dodgers staged a ninth-inning rally, with Scott Van Slyke doubling past diving center fielder Andrew McCutchen to drive in a run, but one of the Dodgers' least-favorite topics, replay, cost them again. New York officials reversed a safe call at first base on a bad throw by Aramis Ramirez that would have given the Dodgers two runners on with one out. It was difficult to tell whether Sean Rodriguez made contact with the bag after Ramirez's throw appeared to pull him off, with Yasiel Puig running, but apparently officials in New York saw enough evidence to overturn it.
What it means: The San Francisco Giants also are in a stretch of challenging games and the Dodgers haven't lost any ground here. The Giants lost in Chicago, so they remain three games out.
Notable: In his first action in a week, Enrique Hernandez was the Dodgers' best hitter Saturday. He was on base in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-3 with a walk and reaching on an error that could have been ruled a hit. Among his hits was a two-run home run to center field. Hernandez also played solid center field. ... Latos also had a hit. He is batting .318 in 22 at-bats this season. ... The Dodgers have to search far and wide for good news on their bullpen nowadays, but Pedro Baez has had scoreless appearances in seven straight outings and nine straight innings.
Up next: The series concludes at 5:08 p.m. PT on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Lefty Alex Wood (7-7, 3.65 ERA) makes his second Dodgers start. The Dodgers will be facing Charlie Morton (7-4, 4.19 ERA).