05/24 23:01 CDT Freese's grand slam powers Dodgers by Pirates 10-2
Freese's grand slam powers Dodgers by Pirates 10-2
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) --- David Freese stepped into the batter's box, heard the
polite applause from the crowd at a ballpark he once called home and was
surprised when the familiar strains of Tool's "Stinkfist" blasted through the
speakers at PNC Park.
The Pittsburgh Pirates played the song as a token of respect for the veteran
infielder, who spent two-plus seasons in black-and-gold before being traded to
the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer. Freese took in the moment and relaxed. But
only briefly. The cheers that greeted him Friday night were quickly replaced by
a groan after he turned on a Michael Feliz fastball for a first-inning grand
slam that powered the Dodgers to a lopsided 10-2 win.
"They played my walk-up song, maybe that's why I'm pumped," Freese said. "It
fired me up."
The Pirates gave Feliz his first major league start in 157 career appearances
in an effort to address their injury-riddled starting rotation. The opener
strategy backfired for the second time in three days. Feliz (2-1) --- who
learned he was getting the ball first when he showed up for work four hours
before the first pitch --- recorded just one out and exited after Freese's
third career grand slam.
The surprise decision to start Feliz initially threw Los Angeles manager Dave
Roberts off balance. He switched his platoon-heavy lineup three times before
settling on one he hoped would be effective against the right-handed Feliz and
left-handed Steven Brault, who Roberts correctly figured would come in whenever
That exit came earlier than Pittsburgh anticipated when Freese belted his first
grand slam since May 17, 2013, for the St. Louis Cardinals.
"We understood with the opener you get a guy who has pitched a lot," Roberts
said. "This was three out of four (days) for Feliz. His pitch count was up in
that first inning and for David to stay out over it --- get to a 3-2 count, see
a ball up and out over and go to his strength which is right-center field. He
put a really good swing on it and obviously right there changed the game."
Staked to a five-run lead before he threw a single pitch, Walker Buehler (5-1)
cruised through six innings, allowing one run and five hits. Buehler threw 74
of his 99 pitches for strikes and credited catcher Austin Barnes for calling
breaking balls early in counts in an effort to challenge Buehler and keep him
"I think when you pitch with a lead, sometimes you can get a little careless
and just throw fastballs to get ahead," Buehler said. "You've got to tip your
cap to (Barnes) for keeping me in there and keeping me engaged. So, it was a
tricky deal pitching with a lead like that, but we'll take it every time."
Cody Bellinger, whose 45-game on-base streak ended Wednesday, kick-started
another one by hitting a two-run shot in seventh off Geoff Hartlieb for his
18th home run of the season. By then the Dodgers had things well in hand.
Bellinger finished 1 for 5, and his major league-leading batting average dipped
Kevin Newman had an RBI double for Pittsburgh. First baseman Josh Bell, who
began the day leading the majors with 47 RBIs, went 1 for 4.
Injuries to Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams and the decision not to bring a
starter up from the minors led the Pirates to use an opener three times in a
week. Montana DuRapau took the first two turns before Feliz got a shot,
something Hurdle said "wasn't one of our first thoughts breaking camp because
of the depth of our rotation and the things we had in play."
Whether the Pirates will use an opener again is uncertain. A doubleheader in
Cincinnati looms on Monday and the team has yet to announce a starter for
either game. The results so far have been mixed at best.
"Can some guys do it? Some other people have done it in other places," Hurdle
said. "Our two guys here, I think it was something different for him. More
opportunities. Maybe they get better. Unfortunately up here everything's
magnified when it doesn't work."
Dodgers: RHP Joe Kelly was placed on the bereavement list, and OF Kyle Garlick
was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Kelly is expected to rejoin the team
on Monday. ... RHP Pedro Baez (right leg contusion) went through a pregame
workout and could return to action over the weekend after getting hurt against
Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Pirates: LF Corey Dickerson (strained right shoulder) went 0 for 4 with two
strikeouts in a rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis. ... RHP Chris Stratton
left after throwing six pitches in the seventh inning. Stratton grimaced after
firing a strike to Joc Pederson and motioned for the trainer before exiting
with right-side discomfort.
Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-1, 1.52 ERA) will look for his fifth straight win on
Saturday. The 32-year-old left-hander has allowed just four walks in 59 1/3
innings this season.
Pirates: Joe Musgrove (3-4, 3.67 ERA) is winless in two career starts against
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