Dodgers 10, Pirates 2

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Randy Wolf got more kudos from his teammates for his offense than his pitching, and he was awfully impressive on the mound.

Wolf struck out a season-high 10, hit a two-run double that highlighted a six-run third inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-2 on Friday night to improve on the best record in baseball.

“He can swing the bat,” catcher Russell Martin said. “Even in BP (batting practice), he puts on a show out there.”

Wolf got plenty of offensive support from his teammates, too. Luis Gonzalez, Nomar Garciaparra and Andre Ethier had two RBIs each for the NL West-leading Dodgers, who are 12-5, with eight wins in their last 10 games.

“Everybody is rolling right now,” Martin said.

Wolf gave up one run and six hits in six innings, walking one, while improving to 3-1 in April for the first time since 2003. Every Dodger scored except Wolf, who added another two-out double down the third-base line in the fifth.

“It surprised me because I thought it was foul,” he said. “I almost stopped and then I saw them call it fair and I started running again.”

Wolf certainly worked for his third consecutive victory on a damp, 52-degree night that was four degrees colder than the temperature in Pittsburgh. The left-hander tossed 66 of his 104 pitches through the first three innings, with 12 of those fouled away.

“I was going 3-2 on a lot of people,” he said. “I was around the zone, but I wasn’t putting away guys quickly and that kind of ran up my pitch count early, which has been kind of the trend lately. I’m trying to stop that. As the game went on, I was able to even things out a little bit.”

Wolf was masterful at changing speeds, though, recording six strikeouts over those three innings.

“He was mixing his pitches really well, mixing his curveball and his cutter, using both sides of the plate,” Martin said. “As a hitter, it’s hard to stand back and be ready for that curveball, especially when he doesn’t show it that often.”

Wolf struck out the side in the sixth before manager Grady Little pulled him.

“I felt I had finally gotten a good rhythm, my body felt great and he was ready to let me go back out there,” Wolf said. “But we had a long bottom of the sixth and he changed his mind.”

Wolf’s double in the third chased Tony Armas (0-2), who allowed eight runs on seven hits in 2 2-3 innings, walked two and struck out none in his first outing since April 7. The right-hander brought a 7.98 career ERA into Dodger Stadium and saw it balloon to 10.90.

“It’s the first time something like this ever happened to me in my career,” Armas said. “I felt good, actually. I felt I threw some good pitches. I was just impressed with their hitting. They were hitting some good pitches on 2-0 and I was saying, `Wow.’

Ahead 2-1, the Dodgers batted around in the third. Jeff Kent and Gonzalez got things started with RBI singles and Ethier’s sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field made it 5-1. Wilson Betemit’s RBI single preceded Wolf’s two-out double that extended the lead to 8-1.

“We got the hell beat out of us,” said Pirates manager Jim Tracy, making his third trip to Dodger Stadium since his departure in 2005. “We dug another big hole for ourselves and we struck out an awful lot again—too much.”

Los Angeles added a run in the fifth on Ethier’s line-drive homer that just cleared the right-field foul pole off a 1-2 pitch from John Wasdin. Gonzalez’s RBI single made it 10-1 in the sixth.

The Pirates led 1-0 in the first on a two-out, broken-bat RBI single by Xavier Nady.

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead on Garciaparra’s two-run single in the bottom of the inning.

Notes

Dodgers CF Juan Pierre went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and stole two bases. … Dodger RHP Yhency Brazoban made his second rehab appearance Friday night in San Bernardino. He started and went 1 2-3 innings, giving up one run, two hits and a walk while striking out one. … Wolf struck out 10 batters for the first time since fanning a career-high 13 while pitching for Philadelphia at Cincinnati on Sept. 21, 2002. … There was no batting practice because of the persistent rainfall during the day that ended by early evening. … Third base umpire Ed Hickox was chilled enough to wear gloves. … A fan used the scoreboard to propose to his girlfriend early in the game. He whipped out a ring and after the couple hugged, he showed off a hand-lettered T-shirt that read, “She said yes.”

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