PITTSBURGH (AP) — Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled away from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a 5-2 victory Thursday, their 90th win of the season.
Grandal’s 18th of the year gave the Dodgers a two-run lead. Gonzalez pushed it to three moments later with a shot to nearly the same spot in the right-field seats for his second of the season and 100th with Los Angeles. Curtis Granderson hit his 22nd home run of the season. Chris Taylor chipped in three hits and Kike Hernandez added two hits on his 26th birthday.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-6) held the Pirates to one run over six innings. Brandon Morrow worked the ninth for first save since 2009. Los Angeles improved to 90-36, becoming the 12th team in major league history to reach the 90-win plateau in 126 games.
Chad Kuhl (6-8) struggled with his command, walking five in just four innings. Jordy Mercer hit an RBI double but it wasn’t enough for the struggling Pirates, who have dropped nine of 12 to fall well back in the NL Central.
Less than 24 hours removed from a crisp and taut regular-season classic that saw Los Angeles starter Rich Hill’s no-hit bid end when Josh Harrison hit a walk-off home run leading off the bottom of the 10th, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts jokingly guaranteed his team would score “at least” one run in support of Ryu.
Los Angeles managed five and it could have been a lot more. A night after stranding 11 men on base to help spoil Hill’s shot at history, the Dodgers left 15 men on. No matter, the Dodgers still found a way to win for the 55th time in their last 66 games by pecking away at Kuhl and the Pittsburgh bullpen.
Taylor singled home Hernandez in the second to give Los Angeles the lead. Granderson put the Dodgers ahead to stay with a drive over the seats in right off Kuhl to make it 2-1. Hernandez added an RBI single off reliever Steven Brault to push the lead to 3-1.
Adam Frazier’s RBI single off former Pirate closer Tony Watson in the seventh drew the Pirates back within one but Los Angeles reliever Pedro Baez struck out Andrew McCutchen with the tying run on second. Pittsburgh left nine men on base and went 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Grandal and Gonzalez greeted Pittsburgh rookie reliever Angel Sanchez to the majors by homering on consecutive pitches in the eighth.
HE’S OUTTA HERE
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Paul Emmel with two on and two outs in the seventh. Emmel flinched as if he was going to call strike three on a full-count pitch to Taylor but instead ruled the pitch ball four.
KANG TO DOMINICAN?
The Pirates are hoping to land third baseman Jung Ho Kang a spot in the Dominican League this fall. Kang hasn’t played this season due to visa problems after being arrested and later convicted on DUI charges in his native South Korea during the offseason. Kang is currently on the team’s restricted list. The Dominican League starts in late October and runs through December.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (lower back strain) traveled to Dallas on Thursday and will get to spend a day in his hometown on Friday before heading north to make a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. The three-time Cy Young Award winner hasn’t pitched since leaving a victory over Atlanta on July 23 after two innings.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (left wrist inflammation) was eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Thursday but the team decided to put him through a workout instead and will re-evaluate his situation on Friday.
Dodgers: Return home to welcome Milwaukee for a three-game series starting Friday. Kenta Maeda (11-5, 3.88) is 7-2 with a 2.83 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Pirates: Start a six-game road trip on Friday in Cincinnati. Ivan Nova (11-10, 3.81 ERA) is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA against the Reds this season.
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