Bullpen collapses in loss


One night after dominating the Dodgers, the Pirates’ bullpen collapsed Saturday amid an 8-4 loss.

With the victory, the Dodgers clinched a playoff berth for the third time in four years – the first time they’ve done that since 1963, ’65 and ’66 – and for the fourth time in the past six seasons. Los Angeles’ 93-62 record is the best in the National League.

With two hits and four walks, the Dodgers scored four runs in the eighth inning. The tying and go-ahead runs scored on back-to-back, bases-loaded walks issued by Steven Jackson.

“I just didn’t get the job done,” Jacksons said. “I felt like I made some great pitches, but they laid off of them. Just a tough night.”

Denny Bautista (1-1) was charged with two runs and Phil Dumatrait allowed one.

The Dodgers belted the ball in the first inning against left-hander Paul Maholm, but came up with just one run. Rafael Furcal lined a leadoff single to left field, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Juan Pierre tripled to center and scored on Manny Ramirez’s ground-rule double.

The Dodgers added two runs in the fourth. Andy LaRoche opened the bottom of the inning with a solo homer to left.

The Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning. With two outs, Luis Cruz bounced an 0-2 pitch up the middle for an RBI single. Andrew McCutchen put the Pirates ahead with a two-run single off George Sherrill (1-0).