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Dodgers fall in seesaw battle with Pirates

LOS ANGELES ― The game found Mookie Betts again and again. Again and again, he responded. By the time it was over, he had broken a franchise record held by Jackie Robinson and needed only a triple to hit for the cycle.

Betts did all he could. The Dodgers still lost, 6-5 to the Pittsburgh Pirates before an announced crowd of 46,724 at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers’ right fielder nearly threw out a runner at home plate in the top of the ninth inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Betts hit a double that bounced off the warning track and over the fence in right-center field. That hit matched Jackie Robinson’s record of 22 extra-base hits in the month of May. It also extended the inning for the heart of the Dodgers’ lineup.

Freddie Freeman drew a walk. Trea Turner flew out to right field for the second out of the inning. Will Smith swung and missed at a split-fingered fastball from David Bednar, ending a seven-pitch at-bat ― and the game ― as Betts was stranded on second base.

Craig Kimbrel (0-1) blew his first save as a Dodger, inheriting a 5-4 lead before allowing two runs in the ninth inning.

Bednar (2-1) allowed two runs in the eighth inning, but stayed in to pitch the ninth inning, ultimately emerging from the see-saw battle with a victory. The Pirates had not won a game at Dodger Stadium since August 14, 2016.

The Dodgers were trailing 4-3 when Trea Turner led off the eighth inning with a line drive to left field. While most would have been content with a single, Turner rounded first base and found an extra gear. The double extended his hitting streak to 22 games.

The next batter, Smith, hit a fly ball to deep right field, allowing Turner to tag up and go to third. Bednar struck out Edwin Rios for the second out, then got ahead of Justin Turner 0-and-2.

Bednar, however, made the critical mistake of throwing three consecutive fastballs in roughly the same place. Turner connected on the third, rocketing a double to left-center and scoring Trea Turner with the game-tying run.

The next batter, Chris Taylor, got under a fastball down the middle of the plate. Nobody could get under his pop-up as three fielders converged in shallow right field. Turner, who was running from second base on contact, scored on Taylor’s single. The Dodgers led 5-4.

Manager Dave Roberts summoned Kimbrel to pitch the ninth inning, but the lead was not safe. Kimbrel walked Diego Castillo. A wild pitch moved Castillo to second base.

The next batter, Michael Perez, lined a single to right field and Betts came up throwing as Castillo attempted to score. The throw was on line. Castillo, however, was a hair too fast, eluding Smith’s tag as he slid toward the foul-territory side of home plate. The game was tied 5-5.

Michael Chavis pinch ran for Perez, then scored from second base when first baseman Freddie Freeman allowed a routine ground ball to glance off his glove into right field. The error gave the Pirates a 6-5 lead.

Solo home runs by Betts, Hanser Alberto and Rios ignited the Dodgers’ comeback from an early 4-0 deficit.

Dodgers starter Walker Buehler threw six innings before handing the ball to Yency Almonte for the seventh and eighth. The Pirates did all their damage on a pair of home runs, leaving Buehler in a 4-0 hole after three innings.

Zach Thompson, the Pirates’ starter, shone in his Dodger Stadium debut. The 6-foot-7 right-hander faced only three batters above the minimum until there were two outs in the fifth inning. Alberto, who was a last-minute addition to the lineup, clubbed a home run over the left-center field fence to give the Dodgers a run.

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