LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke earned his 18th win and Corey Seager blasted his first career home run at Dodger Stadium as the Dodgers beat the Pirates, 6-2, on Friday night. With the win, the Dodgers lowered their magic number to 8, as the Giants lost to the D-backs.
The loss reduced the Bucs' lead over the Cubs for the NL's top Wild Card seed to one game.
The 18 wins are a career-high for Greinke, who was as consistent as ever, allowing only two runs on four hits in seven-plus innings. The Dodgers put up a run in the first and second innings, then Seager's two-run homer extended the lead to 4-1 in the fourth after a Neil Walker home run in the top of the frame. Seager has hit safely in 12 of his 13 starts with the Dodgers and reached base in all 13.
"He's been hitting lefties good all year. Triple-A, Double-A, whatever," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the 21-year-old Seager. "It was a big couple runs for us after they made it 2-1. They're going to keep playing and they're a good offense."
"We knew he was aggressive, likes to swing," said Pirates catcher Chris Stewart, who called the pitches for starter Jeff Locke, including the one Seager hit out. "Instead of running in, it ran out over the plate, and he didn't miss it."
Locke (8-11) lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs (four earned) for Pittsburgh. The Pirates put the ball in play against Greinke -- the righty had just three strikeouts -- but couldn't put together any offense. Greinke's lone mistake was to Walker, who hit a towering home run on the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Who needs a pinch hitter?: Greinke won a Silver Slugger award in 2013 and he was active at the plate on Friday. He laid down a sacrifice bunt in his first at-bat, then lined a single through the right side in his second after Walker got a bad read on the ball off the bat. In the seventh, Greinke hit for himself and smoked a double to the wall in center field -- with his customary bat flip -- and later came around to score.
Thrown away: The Pirates knew they'd be in a tough spot against Greinke -- not a time to be giving runs away. Yet that's what they did at the very outset, with Stewart's throwing error on a first-inning double steal giving the Dodgers a 1-0 jump. It was the Pirates' MLB-leading 114th error of the season. More >
"No doubt. Then they get another run in the second, and you've really got to go to work," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "You got a guy with an ERA of 1.6 walking in, so you know you've got your work cut out for you."
Late game stat-watching: Greinke allowed a single and a walk to start the eighth after being on the bases for much of the Dodgers' two-run seventh inning. The Pirates tacked on a run in the eighth inning to make it 6-2, but it did raise Greinke's ERA even after he left the game. Starling Marte singled up the middle off Chris Hatcher to score Stewart and raise Greinke's MLB-leading ERA to 1.65.
"I should've just went to Hatch at that point," Mattingly said. "I know [Greinke] was feeling really good when he came out, but then we added on, so that's one area I would probably do differently."
"It's what we get to do. It's all part of teams pushing to win and play meaningful baseball and get to the playoffs. I don't look at it as tough at all, but as a great opportunity." -- Hurdle, whose club has lost games started by Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Greinke the last four days, and faces Clayton Kershaw on Saturday.
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Seager's home run was the 47th home run by a Dodgers rookie this season, which sets a franchise record held previously by the 1960 and 1958 teams.
Andrew McCutchen is batting .500 (8-for-16) this season against the Dodgers, with half of the hits going for extra bases.
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates:Francisco Liriano, who has pitched the Pirates to a win in 13 of his last 14 starts, will aim prevent a season-long tying fifth straight loss Saturday when he takes on the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. ET in Dodger Stadium. Liriano was rocked for five runs in 2 1/3 innings on Thursday, but the Pirates came back to beat the Brewers, 7-6.
Dodgers: He might not be the leading Cy Young candidate on his own team, but Kershaw has a nine-game win streak and has made seven straight starts without allowing more than one run. He's 2-1 against the Pirates in his career, but allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings against them in a no-decision in Pittsburgh last month. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. PT.
Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.