Three unearned runs and a “bullpen game” enabled the Pirates to slip past the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-1, and snap a six-game losing skid.
“It’s been a while coming,” manager John Russell said. “We played these guys tough (last week) in L.A. The guys were really into this one tonight because they didn’t want it to slip away. You’ve got to tip your hat to our bullpen tonight because they really did a great job.”
Jeff Karstens, who was converted to a reliever earlier this season, made a spot start and worked the first three innings. The righty gave up a run on three hits.
“I think I could’ve gone one more (inning), but they wanted to limit it because I’ve got to (start again) in five days,” Karstens said.
Donnie Veal (1-0) worked the next two innings and wound up with his first major-league victory. The left-hander allowed two hits and struck out three.
The back end of the bullpen – Steve Jackson, Jesse Chavez and Matt Capps – retired 12 of the final 14 Dodgers batters.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Andrew McCutchen hit an infield single, went to third on a throwing error and scored on Garrett Jones’ sacrifice fly.
In the third, the Pirates loaded the bases on two singles and a fielding error by first baseman James Loney. Brandon Moss blooped a two-run, two-out single into shallow left field.
The Dodgers could’ve clinched a playoff berth with a victory. Instead, they’ll have to wait to see if the Giants lose late tonight.
“You never want to see another team celebrate on your field,” Karstens said. “For us to play the way we did, especially after they made some comments in L.A. about playing us – I won’t get into that – we felt we had something to prove.”