After dropping the opener of this series on Monday, the Pirates have used the longball to post back-to-back wins for the first time in 2006.
Craig Wilson had two homers and drove in four, and Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson also homered in the Pirates’ 9-5 win on Wednesday. A day earlier, Pittsburgh (3-7) got solo homers from Jeromy Burnitz, Ryan Doumit, Jack Wilson and Craig Wilson in a 7-6 victory.
Though they are already in last place in their division, the Pirates are tied with Cincinnati for the NL lead with 17 homers. Detroit leads the majors with 20 home runs.
“I’m not saying we’re Murderers Row,” Craig Wilson said in a reference to the power-heavy 1927 Yankees. “But, if a pitch is there, we can put good swings on the ball.”
Pittsburgh was 12th in the NL with 139 homers in 2005 and will need plenty of help from its offense to counter a weak pitching staff.
Through 10 games, Pittsburgh’s starting pitchers have an ERA of 6.88.
Dodgers manager Grady Little said his pitchers need to focus better.
“We’ve given up a lot of long balls, and it’s purely missing location,” he said.
Los Angeles pitchers have allowed 17 homers, including four by newcomer Jae Seo.
Little will look to Derek Lowe to cool off the Pirates’ bats. He gave up two runs and four hits over six innings—including a homer to Philadelphia’s Bobby Abreu—in Los Angeles’ 6-3 loss to the Phillies on Sunday.
Lowe has yielded two homers in 11 innings this season. His 28 homers allowed last season were second on the club only to the 35 allowed by Jeff Weaver, now with the Angels.
Lowe earned wins in both starts for Los Angeles (4-5) against the Pirates last year to improve to 3-0 with a 2.37 career ERA against them.
Oliver Perez will try again for his first win of 2006. He lasted just 3 1-3 innings in his last start on Saturday, and was roughed up for eight runs on six hits with four walks in an 11-9 loss to the Reds.
Perez is 3-2 with a career 2.41 ERA against the Dodgers. He won in his only start against them last season, giving up a run and five hits over six innings in an 8-3 win on Sept. 24.