The Los Angeles Dodgers’ prolonged inability to win in Pittsburgh has the Pirates on the verge of sweeping them for the first time since 2000.
Coming off an extra-inning victory, the Pirates try to conclude an opening series sweep of the visiting Dodgers on Thursday.
The Pirates have won four straight at home against the Dodgers, and look to sweep a series from Los Angeles for the first time since Sept. 4-6, 2000. They haven’t swept the Dodgers at home since May 31-June 2, 1999.
Pittsburgh, which has lost at least 94 games each of the last five seasons, is trying to sweep its opening series for the second time in four years.
“We got to keep it going, have the same attitude and prepare everyday,” said Cedeno, who’s 4 for 9 with two RBIs in two games.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will try to avoid being swept in its opening series for the first time since 2002.
Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen(notes) had three hits and budding star Garrett Jones(notes) hit a three-run homer after going deep twice in the opener. Jones has four home runs with eight RBIs in his last three games versus Los Angeles.
Jones’ first-inning homer off Clayton Kershaw(notes) helped the Pirates get off to a strong start in their latest contest. They’ll try for similar success against Los Angeles’ scheduled starter Chad Billingsley(notes) in this contest.
The right-hander looks to bounce back from a inconsistent 2009 season where he went 9-3 with a 2.72 ERA over his first 14 starts and made the NL All-Star team, but struggled down the stretch to finish 12-11 with a 4.03 ERA. Despite his early season success, Billingsley was dropped from the Dodgers’ rotation in the postseason.
After some mechanical adjustments, the Dodgers hope Billingsley can return to his All-Star form.
“His delivery line is better, he’s standing a little taller,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told the Dodgers’ official Web site.
Billingsley is 1-0 with a 7.45 ERA in two starts against the Pirates. He was roughed up in his last appearance at Pittsburgh, allowing seven runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 15-8 loss Sept. 17.
The left-hander hopes to improve from last season when he was bothered by knee discomfort and finished 8-9 with a 4.44 ERA in 31 starts.
“I’m looking forward to getting my start in and seeing where I’m at,” Maholm told the Pirates’ official Web site.
Los Angeles managed five hits Wednesday, but drew nine walks only to strand 12 runners in a game that featured 25 men left on base.
“We had plenty of opportunities, we just couldn’t get it done,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
The Dodgers were 24-7 at PNC Park until losing five of six there.