Bucs take early lead, are relentless to rout LA

Bucs take early lead, are relentless to rout LA

LOS ANGELES -- Snakebit starter Brett Anderson's return to the Dodgers was brief and bitter, as he allowed first-inning home runs to Jordy Mercer and Sean Rodriguez before leaving with a sprained left wrist in an 11-3 loss to the Pirates on Sunday.

Anderson, making his first start of the season after spring back surgery, could not take the mound for the second inning because of his latest injury, sustained while diving for Adam Frazier's infield single in Pittsburgh's five-run first inning.

"I think I should be fine going forward, but just to put our bullpen in that situation after [Brandon] McCarthy [injured after 1 2/3 innings in Saturday's start], to try to have us go nine innings, it's embarrassing on my part," said Anderson.

Mercer's homer was a two-run shot, Rodriguez's a three-run blast. Rodriguez finished the game with four RBIs, and Josh Harrison and Adam Frazier had four hits each for Pittsburgh. A day after leaving a franchise record-tying 18 men on base, the Pirates fell one run shy of matching their highest-scoring game of the season.

"Fortunately today we were able to score those runners, unlike yesterday," Frazier said. "We were due, I guess."

"These are circumstances we've got to deal with," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the ongoing starting pitching crisis.

Anderson exits season debut after one inning with injury

Pirates starter Chad Kuhl (3-0) allowed a first-inning run on Josh Reddick's first extra-base hit as a Dodger (a double) and Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single. Joc Pederson homered in the fourth, his 18th.

Kuhl makes most of chance to stick in rotation

The Pirates have won three straight series and are 1 1/2 games back of the second National League Wild Card spot.

"That's what you want, right?" Rodriguez said. "You want to be in the thick of things, getting into August and September and knowing that you're going up against the teams that are right there with you."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
All right: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wrote out an entirely right-handed lineup against Anderson. The Dodgers starter only stayed in the game long enough to turn over the lineup one time, but that was enough for Pittsburgh to build a significant lead. Mercer hit his eighth home run to left, and Rodriguez ripped his 12th to right.

"That's what you want to see, especially at this point of the season," Rodriguez said. "Right away, you start feeling real good about everything and the way it's going to go down."

Kuhl's solid outing

Hot bat, blinding sun: Reddick, whose Dodgers career began 0-for-15 and 2-for-27 at the plate, had two hits Sunday and is on a 6-for-16 streak. Defensively, however, Reddick lost a catchable ball in the sun for the second consecutive game and again it went for a double, this time bringing home a run.

"The guy's been around for six years of service, he's been around the sun," said Roberts. "I just think it's one of those things, the ball just finds the sun and it's tough when it gets in there. Josh is a good defender and he's doing what he can." 

Left hanging: A day after right-hander Gerrit Cole struggled to figure out the Dodgers' left-handed hitters, Kuhl fared better against their top six batters. He held the row of lefties to five hits in 18 at-bats, leaning on his slider to create ground balls and whiffs. Kuhl struck out Yasmani Grandal and Pederson with sliders to end the sixth inning.

"That lineup over there, you saw what it was able to do yesterday when you didn't have real solid execution from a very good pitcher," Hurdle said. "You saw the work they were able to do. Pretty much the same lineup today with a lot different results."

The cavalry: One day after the bullpen picked up 7 1/3 innings from injured starter Brandon McCarthy, Anderson left eight innings to eat. Brock Stewart, called up Sunday for long relief, pitched three innings and was followed by J.P. Howell, Jesse Chavez, Grant Dayton, Josh Fields and Pedro Baez. Monday is a travel day off.

Anderson's injury

QUOTABLE
"Baseball's crazy. It's somewhat cliche, but it's based on failure, so there's going to be games where that happens. As long as we stick to the process of getting guys on, good things should come from that." -- Rodriguez

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers have more pitchers on the disabled list than they have on the active roster. More >

The Pirates' pitching staff went without a walk all series until the seventh inning, when reliever Antonio Bastardo walked Howie Kendrick, the first batter he faced.

Jung Ho Kang, who homered in the ninth inning, has hit .308/.500/.769 in eight career games against the Dodgers. In 26 at-bats, Kang has eight hits, half of them homers.

Kang's big fly

LATE SCRATCH
Left fielder Starling Marte was penciled into the Pirates lineup early Sunday morning, but didn't start due to lingering upper-back discomfort, which forced him to exit Saturday's game early. Frazier started in Marte's place, playing left field and batting eighth, and had a career-high four hits. Marte said after the game his back was still tight, and he will be evaluated again before Monday's series opener in San Francisco.

Frazier scores on error

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the top of the fifth inning, the Dodgers challenged the safe call of second-base umpire Marvin Hudson on baserunner Rodriguez, who attempted to advance from first base on a wild pitch. The call was overturned and Rodriguez was ruled out.

Dodgers nab Rodriguez

WHAT'S NEXT
Pirates: Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong will start for the Pirates at 10:15 p.m. ET on Monday night at AT&T Park against the Giants. Vogelsong is expecting an "emotional" return to San Francisco, where he revived his career and won two World Series. He will start against Giants left-hander Matt Moore, acquired from the Rays before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Dodgers: The Dodgers travel on Monday and open a three-game series in Philadelphia Tuesday night, with Kenta Maeda starting the 4:05 p.m. PT game. Maeda beat the Phillies Aug. 9, allowing three runs in five innings and home runs to Aaron Altherr and Freddy Galvis. He's 7-2 on the road and 3-2 against the NL East.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.