LOS ANGELES — Somewhere in the abandoned steel mills of Pittsburgh they must have found a way to forge a form of kryptonite that works only on the Dodgers.
The proletarian Pirates – 17-26 against everyone else – completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers with an 8-4 victory on Wednesday night.
It was their fifth win in six games against the Dodgers this season and their first sweep of a three-game series against them since August 2015 – the first by the Pirates in Los Angeles since September 2000.
They did it by turning the Dodgers’ lineup into a collection of mild-mannered Clark Kents.
The Dodgers scored 27 runs in their six games against the Pirates. Eleven of those came in their lone victory at PNC Park last month. A Dodger offense that has averaged 5.6 runs per game against everyone else was held to three or fewer in half of their six games against the Pirates.
Most costly, the Dodgers were 7 for 40 (.175) with runners in scoring position in the five losses to Pittsburgh including 4 for 13 on Wednesday – the last hit a two-out, two-run home run by Mookie Betts in the ninth inning.
That last number is an indication of how many scoring chances the Dodgers had in the loss.
Their first three batters reached base in the fourth inning and again in the fifth. They got just one run out of it each time, making the least of a no-outs, bases-loaded situation in the fifth.
Poor baserunning didn’t help the offense. Kevin Pillar led off the third with a double – then was thrown out trying to go to third base on a ground ball to the shortstop. In the sixth, Chris Taylor drew a leadoff walk but was out trying to go first-to-third behind Hanser Alberto’s ground ball to third.
Trailing 3-2, the Dodgers had their best chance to rally when Gavin Lux led off with a walk and went to third on Mookie Betts’ single. Betts advanced to second on the throw, giving the Dodgers runners at second and third with no outs.
With the infield in, though, Freddie Freeman grounded out and Trea Turner flied out to center field. Bryan Reynolds’ throw beat Lux home after he tried to tag up and score the tying run. It was one of four double plays turned by the Pirates in the win.
That wasn’t Reynolds’ only contribution Wednesday.
Three of the first four Pirates batters reached base against Dodgers starter Mitch White and they scored first for the fifth time in the six meetings. But White settled in, leaning heavily on his slider – that pitch got six of the nine swings-and-misses White had in five innings – and retired 13 of the next 14 batters he faced.
He was one out away from turning in a solid one-run, five-inning performance when he walked Ke’Bryan Hayes on four pitches. Then he hung a 1-and-2 curveball to Reynolds who sent it into the right-field pavilion for a two-run home run and a 3-1 Pirates lead.
Rodolfo Castro added another two-run home run off Alex Vesia in the eighth inning and the Pirates scored three more times in the ninth to put the game away.
Castro’s was the sixth homer the Pirates hit in this three-game series and the 11th in their six games with the Dodgers. That’s the most the Pirates (who rank 24th in MLB in home runs) have hit against any opponent this season.
More to come on this story.