The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates were over .500 on May 9th, it was 2002. Jimmy Anderson was the winning pitcher. Adrian Brown and Pokey Reese hit at the top of the order. Andrew McCutchen was a freshman in high school.
What started as a pitcher’s duel ended with fireworks and histrionics, with a pair of ejections and late-inning heroics punctuating the night as the Pirates defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers at home Monday night, 4-1.
The Dodgers got to Pirates starter Jeff Karstens early, with Juan Uribe chopping a two-out RBI single between third and short for a 1-0 lead. That’s all Karstens and the Pirates would allow, though, as the Dodgers would put all sorts of runners on base -- 12 in the game -- but could drive no more of them in.
In the eighth inning, it wasn’t just the Dodgers making sure that runners didn’t come in. After Matt Kemp was hit by a pitch, Uribe drove a ball to left that Jose Tabata attempted to catch with an underhanded scoop. It appeared that the ball hit the ground first, but it was ruled a catch and Kemp was doubled off first. What could have been a two-on, no-out situation became an empty-bases, two-out situation.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, but the real entertainment came before the bottom half of the inning. Mattingly continued his argument, and on the other side of the diamond, Uribe made an editorial comment that third-base umpire Mike DiMuro didn’t appreciate. Uribe was immediately tossed, and had to be restrained by other umpires. Mattingly took up the argument, and was quickly tossed himself.
When play resumed, the Pirates took advantage.
With Garrett Jones on first base, Neil Walker alligator-armed an inside pitch down the first-base line for an RBI double. That chased Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley, who went seven-plus innings, giving up three runs while striking out four. Lyle Overbay followed Walker with a line-drive double off the right-field wall. Ryan Doumit continued the rally with a line drive almost in the same spot of Jones’ double, and the Pirates took a 4-1 lead.
Joel Hanrahan made the ninth inning interesting, allowing a single and committing an error to bring the tying run to the plate, but Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles both grounded out to Pedro Alvarez to end the game.