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Dodgers take second straight in blowout

Chad Billingsley allowed just five hits while Luis Cruz collected three RBI to topple the Bucs in a shutout win. With the victory, LA moves to just a half game back of Pittsburgh for the National League wild-card.

The rain delay was only 55 minutes, but the Pirates delay lasted much longer. Los Angeles bumped their winning streak to eight consecutive games over the Bucs with a 11-0 win Tuesday night.

Picking up where he left off, Shane Victorino batted in the first run of the night in the third inning. Pittsburgh was lucky to escape the frame down only one though, as an initial Cruz single and AJ Ellis walk spelled trouble for Pirates’ starting pitcher Kevin Correia. Victorino’s lone RBI was the only damage done in the frame.

Correia mounted his own response in the bottom of the inning as he opened the frame with a single. Starling Marte reached on a fielder’s choice and was ultimately moved to third base when Travis Snider doubled off the right field wall.

The rally would end when Andrew McCutchen struck out to continue his recent trend of coming up short in big situations. Pittsburgh’s MVP candidate has homered just once in his last 25 games and recorded only five RBI in his last 23 contests.

“Billingsley shut us down. He mixed his pitches well and kept the ball down,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said of the Dodgers ace. “He has been effective. We had opportunities but we just couldn’t capitalize on them. Los Angeles got the start they needed from him.”

The fourth inning started in much the same way that the third inning ended.

Three consecutive Dodgers reached base to open the frame before a James Loney ground out sent Matt Kemp home. Cruz then cleared Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez with a two-RBI single to put the Dodgers up 4-0. Billingsley’s strikeout ended the inning but not before LA posted three runs.

Correia analyzed his battle with Cruz after the game.

“I felt good. I made a lot of good pitches but things didn’t go my way. I had chances to make a good pitch and get out of the inning but I missed a couple—especially with Cruz. He got me a few times on pitches where I just missed my spot. When things are not going your way it is important to take advantage of opportunities and to minimze the damage. I wish I could have made a few different pitches.”

Los Angeles and Cruz added on in the sixth inning.

Ramirez and Loney each recorded singles off Correia to set the table for Cruz once more. The second baseman racked up his third RBI when he singled to plate Ramirez. Ellis’ sacrifice fly tacked on a sixth Dodger run.

For Correia, the outing snapped his career high seven game winning streak. The mark was the Pirates second best of the season behind only AJ Burnett’s nine game streak.

“This is our worst patch of play so far this season,” Hurdle said. “We know what we are dealing with and we have to find a way to turn it around. It is going to be hard, but you have to embrace the hard.”

Insult was added to injury in the ninth inning.

Six consecutive Dodgers reached base during the middle of the frame. The total included two extra-base hits, a walk and an error by the Bucs. Also included were five RBI. With the five run inning, LA posted an 11-0 score over Pittsburgh.

For McCutchen and the Pirates, their focus is on the future. “We have to show up tomorrow and get the win. Every game means a lot. It was a bad way to lose today but we have to take it day by day. We can’t worry about what went wrong or what could have gone our way.”

Wandy Rodriguez (7-11, 2.91 ERA) will face Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.88 ERA) tomorrow at 7:05 as Pittsburgh looks to get back in the win column.

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