Dodgers 4, Pirates 3

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—When it comes to winning close games, the Los Angeles Dodgers are perfect.

Alex Cora’s tiebreaking double in the ninth inning Saturday sent the Dodgers to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that left Los Angeles 10-0 in one-run games this season.

“The last couple years, one run has been enough,” said Shawn Green, who hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Ryan Vogelsong. “Sometimes we produce a lot of runs, and sometimes just enough, but it’s kind of nice to know most days that something good is going to happen. It was big for us to battle and squeak out that win.”

Adrian Beltre led off the ninth inning with a single off Salomon Torres (1-1) that extended his hitting streak to 12 games. After a one-out walk to Jose Hernandez, Cora doubled down the right-field line to send the Pirates to their season-high fifth straight loss.

“It’s great to contribute,” Cora said. “I’ve been feeling pretty good the last week-and-a-half.”

Guillermo Mota (2-0), the second of the three Dodgers’ relievers, pitched a perfect eighth as Los Angeles won for the fourth time in five games.

“A lot has been said of our ability to win one-run games, and to do it you have to have go-to players in the bullpen,” Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said.

Eric Gagne extended his record for consecutive save chances converted to 73 with his 10th this season.

“It’s become a fraternity down there in the bullpen, and we try to help each other and support each other,” said Darren Dreifort, who pitched the seventh.

Jack Wilson’s solo homer on Hideo Nomo’s first pitch of the sixth inning tied the game 3-3. Nomo allowed seven hits in six innings.

Jason Bay led off the ninth with a single off Gagne and was sacrificed to second before Gagne struck out pinch-hitter Abraham Nunez and got Tike Redman to fly out.

“This hurts,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Certainly we had some opportunities to push that go-ahead run across and couldn’t get it done.”

Green’s seventh homer of the season followed singles by Paul Lo Duca and Milton Bradley. But Vogelsong, who has allowed 10 first-inning runs in six starts this season, gave up only two hits in the next six innings and retired his final 10 batters.

“I threw the pitch I wanted to against Green,” Vogelsong said. “I wanted to go inside on him and he still got to it. It’s one of those things where you just tip your hat to him.

“I felt I learned a lot about myself tonight on the mound. I think I grew up a lot tonight. The rest of the night I was just trying to locate my pitches, trying to keep the ball down.”

Redman, dropped from the leadoff spot to eighth in McClendon’s lineup, hit his first home run of the season in the third inning. The solo shot by Redman, who entered the game in a 6-for-48 slump, stopped a 20-inning scoreless streak at home for the Pirates.

Vogelsong drove in the first run of his major league career with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. His one-out bloop behind first base was caught in foul territory by a diving Cora, but Lo Duca lost the ball trying to tag Chris Stynes, who had doubled.

“If we keep playing hard like that, the wins will come for us,” Redmansaid.

Notes

Pirates 1B Randall Simon, on the 15-day disabled list since April 25 with a strained left hamstring, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville in Saturday night … Former Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela will be honored Tuesday by Los Angeles City Council for his community work … Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon Robinson, and Branch Rickey’s grandson, Branch Rickey III, will be commencement speakers Sunday at Ohio Wesleyan. Their appearance will mark the 100th anniversary of the elder Rickey’s graduation. … The Pirates are 2-12 against Los Angeles at home since PNC Park opened in2001 … Jason Kendall’s first-inning single stopped an 0-for-16 streak.

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