PITTSBURGH (AP) – Juan Uribe singled home Andre Ethier in the top of the 11th inning to rally the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Ethier doubled off Vin Mazzaro (3-1) leading off the 11th then raced home when Uribe’s chopper went over the head of third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Nick Punto drove in Uribe with a double to the gap one batter later to provide some insurance.
Peter Moylan (1-0) picked up the win after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. Brandon League, who lost his job as the closer to Kenley Jansen this week, managed the final three outs for his 14th save.
Travis Snider capped a late Pittsburgh rally with a solo home run off Jansen with one out in the ninth to tie the game.
Los Angeles starter Clayton Kershaw scattered three hits over seven innings while lowering his ERA to a National League-leading 1.84, but failed to pick up his first win in three weeks when the Dodgers’ bullpen faltered.
Ethier finished 3 for 5 with an RBI and Skip Schumaker and Mark Ellis also drove in runs for Los Angeles, which won for just the fourth time in its last 16 road games.
Pittsburgh’s Brandon Cumpton allowed three runs on seven hits in five-plus innings during his major league debut. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced but faded as the game wore on.
The Pirates had a chance to win it in the 10th when Neil Walker smacked a ball down the right-field line with Russell Martin on first. Los Angeles rookie right-fielder Yaisel Puig had trouble with the ball, but Martin was held at third even as Puig’s throw went well up the third-base line. The Dodgers intentionally walked Pedro Alvarez and Mike McKenry flew out to right to extend the game.
League, who has blown four saves this season, nearly made it five. The Pirates put runners on second and third in the 11th, but Andrew McCutchen grounded out and Gaby Sanchez hit a sinking liner to left that Schumaker tracked down.
Kershaw is the third Cy Young winner the Pirates have faced in a five-day span. Pittsburgh beat San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito on Tuesday and Wednesday, knocking both around in the process.
Not this time.
The Pirates went up 1-0 early when Alex Presley doubled leading off and then scored on a fielder’s choice. That would be about it. The Pirates put two runners on in the third and sixth innings, but couldn’t scratch out a run, giving the Dodgers enough time to figure out Cumpton.
The 24-year-old’s first start in the majors came after Pittsburgh ace A.J. Burnett went to the disabled list with a strained right calf on Thursday. Cumpton began the season in Double-A Altoona before being promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis in April. While his numbers were fine (4-4 with a 3.31 ERA) the biggest reason the Pirates turned to him is because it was simply his turn to pitch.
Cumpton appeared immune to the nerves early, striking out the side in the first. He retired the first eight batters he faced before walking Kershaw in the third.
The third trip through the lineup, however, proved problematic.
Schumaker drove in A.J. Ellis in the fifth to tie the game before Cumpton unraveled in the sixth.
Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double and moved to third on Hanley Ramirez’s single. Ethier drove home Gonzalez and Mark Ellis hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Justin Wilson to put the Dodgers up 2-0.
Pittsburgh closed within a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Neil Walker, but reliever Paco Rodriguez got Alvarez to ground out meekly to first to end the threat.
Jensen came on in the ninth and blew his first save since inheriting the closer’s job from League when Snider took a 2-2 fastball and put it well into the center-field seats for his third homer of the year.
League allowed infield singles to Snider and Jordy Mercer in the 11th but survived.
NOTES: The Pirates left 13 runners on base. … Los Angeles reliever J.P. Howell began his two-game suspension for his role in a brawl between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks this week. Howell planned to appeal but dropped it on Saturday. … Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte missed a third straight game due to discomfort in his ribs. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the team will give Marte another day to rest before deciding whether he goes on the disabled list. Pittsburgh begins a four-game series in Cincinnati on Monday. … Puig went 1 for 5 and has hit safely in 10 of 12 games since making his debut last month. … The series wraps up on Sunday. Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (1-0, 2.84 ERA) faces Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.68 ERA).