LOS ANGELES (AP)—Taking advantage of other teams’ mistakes was one of the hallmarks of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ back-to-back NL West championship seasons. So when the Pittsburgh Pirates committed two fielding errors in one inning, James Loney(notes) made them pay.
Loney hit his first home run of the season with two outs in the third, Andre Ethier(notes) had a two-run shot in the first and the Dodgers got Chad Billingsley(notes) enough runs this time in a 6-2 victory Friday night.
“That’s what championship-type teams do—take advantage of any kind of mistake and capitalize,” Loney said after the Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak that equaled their longest of last season. “Maybe now we can get people talking about something else now, hopefully. I guess everybody expects us to get the key hits every time. We expect to do it ourselves, but it doesn’t always happen.”
The Dodgers, shut out Thursday night for the third time in five games, increased their margin to 5-1 with three unearned runs after shortstop Bobby Crosby(notes) and first baseman Jeff Clement(notes) committed errors on grounders by Xavier Paul(notes) and Ethier.
“I was hoping that a fan didn’t reach over,” Loney said with a grin.
Clement’s error was his first in 17 starts at first base this season. He never played the position in the majors before this year.
“I try to get a lot of work done there every single day and continue to get better so that things like that don’t happen,” Clement said. “Game situations are how you get more comfortable reading the ball off the bat.
“I couldn’t really read the hop,” he added. “So I went down to block it if it came up on me, but I just didn’t get my glove down far enough. It was one of those balls where you’ve just got to keep your glove down the whole time. If it hits you in the wrist or the forearm or the chest, that’s fine. But it hit off the end of my glove and went between my legs.”
Billingsley (2-1) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings, striking out four and walking three. Akinori Iwamura hit a ground-rule double on Billingsley’s first pitch and scored on a double by Andrew McCutchen(notes). The Pirates got their other run in the fourth on two-out doubles by Ryan Church(notes) and Ryan Doumit(notes).
Both homers by the Dodgers came off Charlie Morton(notes) (0-5), who has allowed seven in 19 1-3 innings this season and has an ERA of 12.57. The right-hander gave up six runs—three earned—and six hits through six innings while striking out eight.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “If we catch the ball that one inning, it might have been a different story. He probably should have gotten out of that inning with no runs. Those things happen, but he battled through it.”
The Pirates have been outscored 39-7 in Morton’s five starts—and he didn’t even pitch in those 20-0 and 17-3 losses to Milwaukee.
“Tonight was a good start for him hopefully to build off of and kind of erase the beginning of the season,” Russell said. “He gave us some innings, kept us in the game and didn’t give up many hits. Unfortunately, two of the hits he gave up were home runs.”
Ethier hit his sixth of the season after a leadoff single by Paul. Ronnie Belliard(notes) pinch-hit for Billingsley in the sixth with the bases loaded and hit a sacrifice fly to close out the scoring.
NOTES: Dodgers manager Joe Torre was relieved after getting a phone call from the son of former Milwaukee Braves roommate Bob Uecker, telling him his dad’s heart surgery on Friday was successful. “He’s been a special friend for a long time,” Torre said of the Brewers’ longtime broadcaster and funnyman. “When we were in New York, Bob called me and told me what was going to happen— but the real reason he called me was to have me set up golf for (Brewers manager) Ken Macha on Monday. I mean, here he is, going in for surgery three days later, and he’s worried about Ken Macha getting a place on the off day to play golf.” … Torre’s first Kentucky Derby horse as a co-owner, 50-1 shot Homeboykris, will have the No. 19 post position on Saturday. The 3-year-old gelding won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in October, but hasn’t competed since finishing second in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 27. His trainer is Rick Dutrow Jr., who won the Derby and Preakness in 2008 with Big Brown.