Dodgers 9, Pirates 4
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Jason Repko expected to spend most of the season in the minor leagues before Jayson Werth’s broken wrist in the spring gave him a chance to make huge strides with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Repko drove in a career-high four runs with a pair of triples on Monday night, leading the Dodgers to a 9-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates and sending Kip Wells to his major league-worst 18th loss.
“Jason only had a half a year of Triple-A under his belt, but made the team coming out of spring training with the Jayson Werth injury and has ended up logging almost an entire season up here. So he’s really gained invaluable experience,” Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said.
“He’s had nights like tonight, and early in the year he hit a handful of home runs in April and May. So there’s no doubt the potential is there, because we’ve seen it. As with all young players, it’s going to be about the consistency of his offense. But it was his effort level, and the above-average defense really solidified his spot on the club throughout the year. He’s got elements of his game that you can’t teach, like speed and outfield range, so that’s certainly going to make him a valuable guy for us going forward.”
Edwin Jackson (2-2) pitched 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs—one earned— and four hits with no strikeouts.
Wells (7-18) pitched five innings, allowing four runs, six hits and four walks. Despite escaping a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the first, he lost his sixth straight decision and is 1-14 with a 6.97 ERA in his last 19 starts.
Wells, who threw 26 of his 103 pitches in the opening inning, walked his first two batters before giving up a single to Oscar Robles. But the right-hander turned Jeff Kent’s comebacker into a force at the plate, then slipped a called third strike past Jose Cruz Jr. and retired Dioner Navarro on a grounder to second.
“That’s a lot of pitches in five innings,” interim manager Pete MacKanin said. “He’s fighting to get on track. Sometimes you just have to go out there and forget about the corners. He’s got that kind of stuff where if he just keeps the ball down in the zone, he’ll be OK.”
The Dodgers turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead with an RBI double in the third inning by Hee-Seop Choi and a pair of runs in the fourth. Wells hit Werth with his first pitch of the inning, then gave up an RBI triple to center field by Repko and an RBI single by Willy Aybar.
Cruz, batting .329 in 41 games since the Dodgers acquired him in a trade with Boston on Aug. 9, made it 4-2 in the fifth with his 18th homer and sixth with Los Angeles. It was the 23rd home run surrendered by Wells, one fewer than his career high.
Jason Bay narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the seventh with an RBI single after Jose Bautista reached on an error by shortstop Robles. But the Dodgers broke it open in the bottom half with four runs, three of them scoring when Repko tripled down the left-field line against Rick White.
Repko, who had only one triple in 256 previous big league at-bats, is the first Dodger to get two in one game since Eric Anthony on May 18, 1997, at Montreal.
“The last five days I’ve made some adjustments and changed my stance, and it’s helped me quite a bit,” Repko said. “I’ve had some hits going into tonight and that made me feel comfortable up there. I definitely have to keep working, and I won’t stop. Even if I’m a regular for the rest of my career, I’ll always push the same way I’m doing now.”
Jason Grabowski ended the scoring in the ninth with a single that drove in Kent, who has scored 100 runs for the third time in his career. Kent has scored or driven in 205 of the Dodgers’ 676 runs this season.
“Jeff’s a leader,” Repko said. “He’s a leader by the way he plays. He talks to us individually and helps us with our game. I know he’s helped me by mentioning things that have been a big help. We all want to play the way he plays.”
Nate McLouth homered in the eighth for the Pirates, who have gone deep in a season-high eight straight games.
Wells, whose last victory was on Aug. 19, is scheduled to make his 33rd and final start of 2005 on Saturday against Milwaukee—which beat him 10-2 and 6-2 in his first two outings this season. … Bay, last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, stole his 21st base of the season in as many attempts. Kevin McReynolds of the New York Mets also was 21-for-21 in 1988, setting a major league record for most steals without getting thrown out. … Freddy Sanchez doubled to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.