Just another ho-hum outing for Hiroki Kuroda, right? Seven scoreless innings, three hits allowed, and eight strikeouts. That’s the tenth time he’s gone at least seven scoreless in his career, and makes for the sixth time in eight starts this season he’s allowed three or fewer earned runs. He seriously doesn’t get the respect he deserves, and I think that’s in large part because even with tonight’s win, his career record is just 32-33. And people, you know, still care about that for some reason.
Kuroda had to be great in this one, because once again, the Dodger offense provided him with just about no support. Only once in nine innings did the Dodgers manage to get a runner to third base, and that was in a sixth inning that wasn’t nearly as productive as the box score made it look – of the six Dodgers to reach base, only one hit the ball out of the infield. Ivan DeJesus – hitting second, because he’s the second baseman and second basemen hit second, dammit – drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on an infield single by Andre Ethier. Matt Kemp walked to load the bases with no outs… and Juan Uribe, who went 0-4 and has two singles in his last 24 plate appearances, did his best to kill the rally by grounding into a double play. That scored DeJesus (I had turned off the Dodger feed by that point in favor of the Pittsburgh telecast, though I assume that Steve Lyons praised Uribe for strategically getting the run home), and then Pirate manager Clint Hurdle did us all the favor of intentionally walking Rod Barajas because… well, I don’t really know why. Jerry Sands poked a double down the right field line to score Ethier, and after an intentional walk to Russ Mitchell (again, don’t ask me why), Kuroda finally ended the threat. Sands now has four hits and three walks over his last three games, whereas Rod Barajas is Rod Barajas.