PITTSBURGH (AP) – Joc Pederson went deep twice, Cody Bellinger hit his third home run in as many games and the Los Angeles Dodgers used nine pitchers to hold off the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 on Thursday.
Pederson led off the game with a solo blast off Jameson Taillon (3-5) and added a two-run shot in the eighth off Michael Feliz for his second multi-home run game in a week.
Bellinger finished 3 for 4, including a shot just over the wall in left field in the sixth to give the Dodgers a three-run advantage, and a stream of relievers made it stand as Los Angeles won for the 15th time in its last 20 games to move back to .500 (31-31).
Daniel Hudson made his first start since 2015, working only the first inning, after the Dodgers scratched rookie Dennis Santana from what would have been his first major league start. Santana experienced tightness in his right side during his pregame routine.
Pedro Baez (3-3) picked up the win by getting six outs – the most by any of the pitchers Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts summoned from the bullpen. Kenley Jansen worked around a pinch-hit homer by Francisco Cervelli in the ninth to collect his 15th save in 17 opportunities.
Taillon, coming off his first win in nearly two months, allowed three runs in five innings. Elias Diaz hit his fourth home run and drove in four for the Pirates, and Cervelli’s homer pushed his total to a career-high nine. Josh Harrison had two of Pittsburgh’s nine hits, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Pirates from losing their sixth consecutive series while dropping to .500 (31-31).
Los Angeles has worked itself back into the thick of things in the crowded NL West over the last three weeks despite a series of injuries to the starting rotation.
The victory marked the 10th time in 13 games Dodger relievers have worked at least four innings. This time they handled the entire game.
Those following Hudson included Baez – who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday but never made it to the airport after Tony Cingrani went on the disabled list early Thursday with pain in his left shoulder. Baez even made the sixth plate appearance of his five-year career when he put down a sacrifice bunt in the third. Edward Paredes, recalled from Triple-A overnight, worked a third of an inning in his second appearance in the majors this year.
Los Angeles relied heavily on small ball to take a 4-1 lead into the sixth but went back to testing the boundaries of PNC Park after the Pirates pulled within 4-3 in the sixth following an RBI double by Bell and a sacrifice fly by Diaz.
Bellinger, who entered the series in a 5-for-54 tailspin, poked a curveball from Tyler Glasnow into the bleachers to push the lead to 6-3. Pederson followed in the eighth with a shot to center that crashed into the bushes.
The cushion was just enough after Diaz hit a three-run homer in the eighth and Cervelli drew the Pirates within one in the ninth.
Dodgers: Roberts said Cingrani will undergo an MRI when the team returns to Los Angeles.
Pirates: SS Jordy Mercer went 1 for 4 and scored a run in his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with flu-like symptoms.
Dodgers: Begin an eight-game homestand on Friday when the Atlanta Braves visit. Walker Buehler (3-1, 2.74 ERA) faces Atlanta’s Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 4.83).
Pirates: Start a six-game road trip in Chicago on Friday against the Cubs. Chad Kuhl (4-3, 3.86) faces Mike Montgomery (1-1, 3.89) in the opener. The Cubs took three of four in Pittsburgh last week.
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