The Times West Virginian

Pirates

August 17, 2012

Pirates salvage series, upend Dodgers

PITTSBURGH — The Los Angeles Dodgers left Pittsburgh in a bad mood, and it had little to do with the end of their four-game winning streak.

Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp and manager Don Mattingly were ejected, and teammates Joe Blanton and Hanley Ramirez also had testy exchanges with home plate umpire Angel Campos in Los Angeles’ 10-6 loss to the Pirates on Thursday.

“We came here having won the first three games of the series. We’re not a frustrated team,” Mattingly said. “We’re not trying to cause any trouble. It’s not like we’ve lost 10 of 11 and looking for a fight. We’re here ready to play baseball, and to have Matt taken out of the game is not right.”

James Loney and Hanley Ramirez homered for Los Angeles, which leads the NL West by a half-game over San Francisco. The Dodgers had won six of seven and all six prior meetings with the Pirates this season.

The primary topic in the Dodgers clubhouse was the ejections the team felt were unwarranted. The dismissal of Kemp during the top of the second inning set off a lengthy argument that was mostly directed at Campos.

Kemp struck out to end the first. He and Mattingly confirmed that the Dodgers were barking about balls and strikes when Andre Ethier led off the following inning, prompting Campos to deliver an unofficial warning to the team.

“Then I said, ‘Let’s go ‘Dre,’ and he tossed me out of the game,” Kemp said. “You’ve got two teams going at it in a pennant race. We’re trying to build the lead against the Giants and Arizona, and I get thrown out for cheering my teammate.”

Kemp’s ejection angered Mattingly, who sprinted out to Campos. Kemp wasn’t far behind, and needed to be restrained, at different times, by Mattingly, teammate Shane Victorino, bench coach Trey Hillman and other umpires. He bumped into an umpire at least once.

After a few minutes of arguing, Mattingly was ejected by crew chief Tim Tschida. Mattingly stayed on the field for several more minutes of animated discussion before an umpire summoned Hillman to come out to retrieve Mattingly.

“This isn’t about being mad,” Mattingly said. “This is something that has to go above me. It needs to go to the league. We’re in a pennant race, and I’ve got a guy who was second in the MVP (voting) last year, and you can’t take him out of the game for cheering for a teammate. If we had gone out of control, that’s different. This is just unacceptable behavior (by Campos).”

Mattingly’s ejection was his sixth this season; Kemp was tossed for the first time.

The incident wasn’t the only contentious one on a steamy 84-degree afternoon.

Blanton ran toward Campos as he was walking off the field after being removed following Pedro Alvarez’s homer. Ramirez also drew Campos’ ire for throwing his bat down in disgust after striking out in the sixth.

Pirates starter A.J. Burnett, who called a players meeting before Wednesday’s game, was most angry after the Dodgers took their only lead in the fourth when Ramirez hit a two-run homer.

As Ramirez rounded second base during his home-run trot, he circled his eyes with his fingers as he turned in the direction of Burnett. The gesture is a trademark of Ramirez’s.

“If you’re going to hit a homer, act like you’ve hit one before,” Burnett said. “The first batter, Loney, hit one and was very professional about it. Ran hard the whole way. I just thought he did a little something at second base. I could be wrong. It was heat of the moment.”

When Ramirez struck out swinging to end the sixth, Burnett screamed at him as he walked off the mound. Ramirez was reprimanded by Campos for throwing his bat, and the two had a somewhat-heated discussion.

“I was just excited to get him out,” Burnett said. “Every time someone clicks one off you, you want to get him out the next time up. He drove one that went pretty far, and then I was able to get him out, so I was pretty fired up.”

Two batters after Kemp’s ejection, Loney homered for the first time since May 21 and the third time this season.

Garrett Jones hit two three-run homers for a career-high six RBIs, and Burnett became the first Pirates pitcher with 15 wins in 13 years for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates had lost six of seven, and had won only three of their previous 10 games during their longest homestand of the season.

Burnett (15-4) allowed six runs, seven hits, and a walk, and he two hit batters, but he was good enough to become the first Pirates pitcher to win 15 games since Todd Ritchie in 1999. Burnett had seven strikeouts.

“He came out knowing what’s at hand here, and to put a foot down,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “And then the game probably added to his edge, sharpened his edge, just because the game was all over the place.”

Alvarez hit his 22nd home run as part of a 3-for-4 day. Clint Barmes added three RBIs for the Pirates, who entered the day tied with St. Louis for the NL’s second wild card spot.

Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen were on base both times Jones homered, in the first and fifth innings. The second shot to right elicited a curtain call for Jones, who has 20 home runs this season and five career two-homer games.

Blanton (8-11), who declined comment on the umpiring, fell to 0-2 since being acquired in a trade from Philadelphia. Blanton gave up eight runs, seven hits and a season-high four walks in 4 1-3 innings.

NOTES: The Dodgers had beaten the Pirates nine straight times, dating to last year. ... The Dodgers were looking for their first four-game sweep in Pittsburgh in 63 years. ... Los Angeles will complete its 10-game road trip with three games in Atlanta against the Braves.

 

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