Dodgers 8, Pirates 3
Milton Bradley hit two home runs, including one of three straight by the Dodgers in the first inning, and Los Angeles beat the Pirates 8-3 Thursday behind another solid outing from Jeff Weaver to finish its first season sweep of any NL team since moving to the West Coast in 1958.
“We normally swing the bat good in day games, because you can see the ball better and it carries a little more,” said Adrian Beltre, who also hit one of the Dodgers’ season-high five homers, his 30th of the season. “It was good to come out in the first inning and give Weave some run support.”
It was the second time this year that the Dodgers hit three consecutive homers. Beltre, Juan Encarnacion and David Ross did it against Brett Tomko in the fifth inning of a 7-6 victory at San Francisco on April 18.
“We just took care of business,” Bradley said. “We came out swinging the bats and hit the ball the way we’re capable of doing. This is one of the more legit parks—but in the daytime, the ball does take off a little better.”
It also was the first time any team hit three consecutive homers against the Pirates since Aug. 4, 2002, when San Francisco’s J.T. Snow and Reggie Sanders took Kris Benson deep, and David Bell did likewise against Josias Manzanillo in the sixth inning of the Giants’ 10-5 win at PNC Park.
“It was a beautiful thing,” said Weaver, who has allowed no more than three earned runs in 17 of his last 19 starts but is only 8-8 during that stretch.
“Twelve o’clock games are tough to get going in, but we came out of the chute with some runs,” the right-hander added. “Getting four in the first inning allows you to go out there and just make pitches, stay ahead of hitters and force them to swing at the pitches you want them to.”
Weaver (9-10) allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings and struck out five, pitching the NL West leaders to their 24th win in 30 games and putting them a season-high 21 games over .500. They are 22-5 against Pittsburgh the last four seasons.
Jayson Werth and Jose Hernandez also homered for the Dodgers, who outscored the Pirates 30-16 in their six meetings and outhomered them 10-3. Jason Bay’s solo shot in the ninth against Duaner Sanchez ended a string of 33 consecutive Pirates hits in their past six games that were singles.
Rookie Sean Burnett (5-4) was charged with six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, including four homers. The left-hander allowed only two home runs over 53 innings in his nine other starts this season and had won five of his previous six outings.
The Dodgers’ first-inning rally began with a leadoff walk to Cesar Izturis, who was back in the lineup after missing Wednesday night’s game because of an infected big toe caused by an ingrown toenail. Werth followed with his eighth home run, Bradley drove the next pitch over the wall in right-center, and Beltre made it three straight with a shot to left-center.
“I’m not used to giving up too many home runs—and then three in a row … I was kind of shell-shocked,” Burnett said. “I didn’t know what to think or what to do. That’s never happened to me before. After Beltre’s homer, I figured it couldn’t get any worse. I was just hoping the next guy would somehow keep the ball in the ballpark.”
Beltre’s homer made him the fourth third baseman in the Dodgers’ 115-year history to hit at least 30 in a season, joining Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Todd Zeile.
“I don’t look at stuff like that until the season is over—but I’m glad to be one of those guys,” Beltre said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the team scoring enough runs to win.”
Bradley sparked a three-run fifth with his 15th homer, giving him three career multihomer games—all this season. Ross added an RBI single and Izturis drew a bases-loaded walk from Brian Meadows, increasing the margin to 7-2.
Pirates left-hander Dave Williams, coming back from shoulder surgery two years ago, made his first big league appearance since May 27, 2002, and gave up Hernandez’s ninth homer leading off the seventh.
The Dodgers won all four games against the Angels in 1997, the first season of interleague play. … The five homers by the Dodgers were one more than the Pirates have hit in their last 13 games combined. … Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of Tommy Lasorda’s major league debut, a relief outing for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. … Pirates slugger Willie Stargell became the first player to hit a home run completely out of Dodger Stadium exactly 35 years ago Thursday. … Dodgers CF Steve Finley sat out because of a sore right hamstring and isn’t expected to start Friday night against Philadelphia, either. One reason is that he’s 0-for-16 lifetime against scheduled Phillies starter Randy Wolf.
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