McCutchen hits 2 HRs as Pirates beat Dodgers 6-1
PITTSBURGH (AP) Andrew McCutchen broke out of his slump in a big way and helped the Pittsburgh Pirates get back-to-back wins for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks.
McCutchen homered twice, Jeff Locke took a perfect game into the sixth inning, and the Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1 Saturday night.
It was McCutchen's 11th career multi-homer game - second this year. The nine-year veteran's batting average had dropped to .239 - 55 points below his career average - after going 9 for 49 (.184) with 16 strikeouts in his previous 13 games.
''He's going to get to somebody sooner or later,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''It really doesn't matter who. They can be good. They could have been around. They can be young, fresh. He's going to get to somebody.''
Pittsburgh has won consecutive games for the first time since sweeping a doubleheader from the New York Mets on June 7.
McCutchen had a solo shot in the fourth inning for the game's first hit and then a three-run shot - his 12th homer of the season - to start a five-run sixth that increased the Pirates' lead to 6-1.
''Of course, it's helpful,'' McCutchen said when asked if the homers could help his confidence. ''Oh-for-100, that ain't helping. It's good to put some hits on the board and not only get some hits but some big hits. It felt good to be able to get a pitch to hit and square it up.''
Locke (7-5) retired his first 15 batters before consecutive doubles by Scott Van Slyke and A.J. Ellis to start the sixth inning broke up his perfect game and shutout bids. Locke allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, striking out three and walking none.
He has given up one run in 13 2/3 innings in winning his last two starts after being rocked for 18 runs in 8 2/3 innings in losing his previous two starts.
''They're an aggressive lineup, so it's either a lot of hits or a lot of outs when teams are aggressive,'' Locke said. ''We got a lot of outs, so it was a good team effort, especially with the defense playing unbelievable behind me.''
Jordy Mercer hit a two-run home run, his fourth, off Joe Blanton in the sixth inning for Pittsburgh.
Kenta Maeda (6-5) gave up four runs and four hits in five-plus innings with four strikeouts and two walks. It was Japanese rookie's first career road loss in seven starts.
''Both home runs (to McCutchen) were situations where I fell behind in the count and then I made mistakes,'' Maeda said through an interpreter. ''I needed to get ahead in the count there and I didn't and (McCutchen) made me pay for it.''
Ellis and Yasiel Puig each had two hits as the Dodgers lost their second straight on the heels of a six-game winning streak. They have also dropped 11 of their last 13 games at PNC Park.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (broken left hand) had his stitches removed and did light work behind the plate for the first time since being injured June 10, blocking soft tosses with his body while holding his hands behind his back. ... RF Gregory Polanco (left leg discomfort) sat out his second straight game after being injured Thursday while running down the first-base line in a loss to San Francisco.
Dodgers: SS Chris Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to serve in a bench role and RHP Nick Tepesch was designated for assignment. Taylor played three games at Oklahoma City after the Dodgers acquired him from the Seattle Mariners on Sunday in a trade for RHP Zach Lee. ... Oklahoma City RHP Carlos Frias is the leading candidate to start Wednesday at Milwaukee in what would have been Tepesch's next turn in the rotation. ... OF Will Venable accepted an outright assignment to Oklahoma City after previously being designated for assignment and clearing waivers.
Dodgers: SS Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to nine games when the rookie singled in the seventh inning.
Pirates: Mercer ran his hitting streak to 10 games with his home run . LHP Tony Watson made his eighth consecutive scoreless relief appearance, each lasting one inning.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (11-1, 1.57 ERA) will attempt to continue his nine-game winning streak, which has spanned 10 starts, Sunday night. He is 2-2 with a 2.90 ERA against the Pirates in 10 career starts.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl, who joined the team Friday, is expected to be officially recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and make his major league debut. The 23-year-old was 6-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts at Indy.