LOS ANGELES -- Cockeyed optimists among the fan base will note the Los Angeles Dodgers averaged 7.5 runs in two games against the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend. Everyone else will note they didn't do a very good job spreading them evenly. One night after scoring a season-high 12 runs, the Dodgers' bats went quiet in a 5-3 loss Sunday at home, their third in four games over the series.
The Dodgers dropped to 12-17 at home, and fell back to 7 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the NL West.
How it happened: Zack Greinke wasn't sharp but still had more edge than L.A.'s bats. At the top, Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier were 0-for-9. The power bats weren't any better. Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp were a combined 1-for-10 with six strikeouts. Only four Dodgers (Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, Kemp and pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke) managed hits. A ninth-inning semi-rally against Pirates closer Jason Grilli gave those left in the crowd a lift, but proved in the end to be so much trolling.
Hits: Coming off an epic May in which he hit .398 with eight home runs and drove in 24 runs, Puig kicked off June in good form. He doubled in his first at-bat, singled in his second and was robbed of a third hit in the eighth on a nice snare by Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Misses: Greinke was fine for the game's first two batters, but everything following was a struggle. The Pirates staged a two-out rally in the opening frame, kicked off by a double from Andrew McCutchen, extended with consecutive walks to Ike Davis and Russell Martin, and capped with a two-run single from Alvarez. Greinke would allow a solo shot to McCutchen in the third, then another RBI single from Alvarez in the sixth.
Stat of the game: Greinke hadn't given up four earned runs since July 25, 2013, in a 5-2 loss to Cincinnati, a stretch of 26 consecutive regular-season and playoff starts.
Up next: The Dodgers welcome the Chicago White Sox to the Ravine for a three-game series. Left-hander Jose Quintana (3-4, 3.61) faces Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 3.57) in the opener Monday. The White Sox are expected to activate rookie sensation Jose Abreu from the disabled list. He leads Chicago with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs despite sitting since May 18 thanks to ankle tendinitis.