Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
CHAVEZ RAVINE (CBSLA.com) — The Dodgers displayed the type of aggressive, high-powered offense Saturday that fans had satisfactorily envisioned prior to Opening Day.
Hanley Ramirez was 4-for-4 from the plate with two home runs and five RBIs, both tied for career highs, as the Dodgers avoided their first four-game losing streak of 2014 as four Dodgers recorded a multi-hit game as part of an offensive barrage to rout the Pirates 12-2 on Saturday.
Ryu was dominant on the mound for his third straight start, striking out four over six solid innings as he remained undefeated (7-0) against National League Central ball clubs in his career.
Dodger starters have now allowed three or fewer runs in 11 consecutive starts.
The Dodgers struck first, off the bat of Ramirez, in the first inning. Andre Ethier had advanced to second base on a fielder’s choice by Yasiel Puig, after having forced a full count walk. Ramirez connected on a fastball that made it through the hole, allowing Ethier to score for the 1-0 lead.
Matt Kemp, trying to adjust to his new role in left field, snapped a depressing 0-for-20 skid later in the inning to get a grounder to sneak past Jordy Mercer, scoring Ramirez and giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers then displayed an aggressive, high-powered type of offensive potential in the third inning that had sparked hopes and expectations prior to Opening Day.
Ethier would be involved on the offensive end again in the third inning, connecting to send a ball deep to left. The ball was well short of the stands, and left fielder Starling Marte seemed to make the catch before making contact with the wall. However, Marte, after making the contact, let the ball fall to the ground.
While it appeared Marte had possession, Ethier, wisely, continued to advance on the basepaths, as thrid base umpire Paul Nauert ruled no-catch. Ethier reached second on the play, and the Pirates were unable to challenge, after having lost a challenge in the first inning, when Dee Gordon caught, and subsequently dropped, a ball at second base.
The next batter, Yasiel Puig, then tied Willie Davis’ Los Angeles record for hits in the month of May with his 43rd hit, in the form of an infield single, which moved Ethier to third.
Ethier would score again off another single from Hanley Ramirez into left field, putting Puig in scoring position and giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.
Puig has now successfully reached base in 32 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.
Gonzalez immediately followed by smacking a high fastball, which was out of the zone, into right field for a double which scored Puig, making it 4-0.
Kemp’s second RBI followed Gonzalez’ hit, when he sacrificed on a nice dig by right fielder Jose Tabata. Ramirez tagged at third and stayed on his feet to beat Tabata’s throw, and Gonzalez, who is not known for speed of any kind, was able to advance to third, beating Chris Stewart’s throw.
Still not done,the Dodgers knocked in their sixth RBI, and fifth of the inning, when Justin Turner singled up the middle to score Gonzalez.
By the end of the inning, the Dodgers had gone 6-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
They had gone 2-for-15 on Friday night.
The Pirates put their first run on the board in the fourth inning, after Mercer doubled down the left field line, scoring Tabata from first. Tabata had reached on an infield single, after Gonzalez gloved the ball, but ended up pegging the runner in his attempt to hit Ryu at the bag.
Gordon revived the momentum when he led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple down the right field line.
However, he was tagged two batters later by third baseman Josh Harrison, after Yasiel Puig grounded hard to third. Gordon, almost as a reflex action, took off from the bag on the grounder. But after a brief dance off on the base path, he was ultimately tagged for the out, allowing Puig to reach first base.
After the very real possibility of letting a lead off triple go to waste, Hanley Ramirez connect for his third hit of the ball game when he absolutely crushed a fastball to deep right-center field for his eighth homer of the year, and his fourth RBI of the day, giving the Dodgers an 8-1 lead.
Two more struggling Dodgers were then able to record much-needed multi-hit games, after Gonzalez and Kemp both connected for back-to-back singles later in the fourth, each gathering their second hit of the ball game.
Gonzalez scored his second run of the game, as Turner, marking the fourth Dodger in the lineup to record a multi-hit game, singled on a grounder that just escaped the glove of Neil Walker at second, giving the Dodgers a 9-1 lead.
Drew Butera, who was one of only three Dodgers to not have a hit by the fourth inning, changed that fact when he missed his third home run of the year by no more than half an inch. The ball seemed to hit the very corner of the inside-top of the wall, just beyond the reach of Andrew McCutchen, scoring both Kemp and Turner, and reaching third for the RBI triple, making it a 11-1 ball game.
The 11 runs marked a season high for LA.
The Dodgers made a decent highlight reel on defense as well.
In the fifth, after Gomez and Harrison led off the inning with base hits, getting runners at second and third with no outs, Walker connected to smack a liner towards the gap in left. Ramirez made an acrobatic leap to snag the liner mid-flight, keeping the runners from advancing.
Turner then gloved a grounder from McCutchen to gun down Gomez at the plate for the second out, before Ryu got Gaby Sanchez to fly out to center.
The second run of the ball game for Pittsburgh was almost erased by Puig in right field, fielding a single by Travis Snider as he fired a cannon shot to home plate in an attempt to prevent Mercer from scoring. The ball, somehow, seemed to reach home plate with plenty of time, but Butera was unable to keep a glove on it. Mercer was safe and it became an 11-2 ball game, which was good enough to bring out Rick Honeycutt to the mound to discuss the inning with Ryu, who had, at that point, given up a season-high 10 hits.
Ramirez hit a towering shot off Bryan Morris in the sixth that dropped into the stands beyond left-center, giving him his second homer of the game and his fifth RBI.
It was the sixth straight at-bat in which Ramirez has gotten a hit.
The Dodgers will look to split their four-game series with Pittsburgh, to whom they haven’t dropped three games in a row to since July, 2000 to April, 2001, on Sunday, sending Zack Greinke (8-1) to the mound against Edinson Volquez (2-4).