Bellinger's HR backs Maeda as LA sweeps

Bellinger's HR backs Maeda as LA sweeps

LOS ANGELES -- Rookie Cody Bellinger slugged his sixth home run in 14 games and Kenta Maeda fell two outs shy of his first Major League complete game Wednesday night as the Dodgers beat the Pirates, 5-2, for a sweep of their three-game series and a five-game winning streak.

"That's the pure strength, bat to ball skills," manager Dave Roberts said of Bellinger's opposite-field shot. "To barrel it, an opposite-field homer, he's wiry-strong and gets the barrel to it." 

Maeda (3-2) took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning but allowed a leadoff single to Josh Harrison and a home run to Francisco Cervelli. Maeda struck out Andrew McCutchen for the first out. Grant Dayton retired the final two batters. Maeda finished with five strikeouts and no walks.

"The home run in the ninth inning was a tough one to swallow," Maeda said. 

Maeda money: Righty peaks at right time

Since his callup, Bellinger has replaced the injured Joc Pederson, Adrian Gonzalez and now Andrew Toles, who will undergo season-ending surgery for a torn right knee anterior cruciate ligament. Bellinger's homer off Chad Kuhl (1-3) in the first inning tied Yasiel Puig for the team lead.

Kuhl's rocky first inning sets ominous tone

Chase Utley, starting for Bellinger at first base, singled in a run in the three-run first inning and doubled in a run in the fourth. Yasmani Grandal had his second consecutive three-hit game and is batting .433 over his last seven games with seven RBIs.

Utley's RBI single

"Regardless of injuries, noise, distractions, we don't let it deter us and keep us from winning a game, as much as we care about Andrew and feel for him," said Roberts. 

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said there was no mystery to what Maeda was doing.

"He let us know right away what he was going to do," Hurdle said. "We had a runner on second base [in the first], Cervelli's got a 3-0 count and [Maeda] throws a breaking ball. [He] throws another breaking ball. We get the runner to third, and [he] throws another breaking ball. Breaking ball, breaking ball, breaking ball. We needed to hit the breaking ball and take that away from him and weren't able to do it."

Cervelli's late two-run homer

Cervelli had two hits for the Pirates, and after a slow start, he is hitting .402 (9-for-22) in his last six games.

"Cervelli has swung the bat pretty well," Hurdle said. "Doesn't have much to show for it."

Multi-tools, five stars: Bellinger robbed Gregory Polanco of a hit with one out in the fourth inning with a great jump off the bat and tumbling catch in left field that Statcast™ classified as a 5-star catch with a 6 percent catch probability, covering 48 feet in just 3.2 seconds.

Although he landed hard on the small of his back making the catch, Bellinger said he felt OK after the game. 

Statcast: Bellinger robs Polanco

Utley heating up: Getting a rare start at first base because Bellinger, who had been starting for the injured Gonzalez, was back in the outfield, Utley had a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs, his first multihit game of the season. Through April 24, Utley was hitting .036. He's 5-for-22 since.

"Today Chase was in the lineup, a veteran player, but he opted to take part in a simulated batting practice with Brandon McCarthy, to get five, six, seven extra at-bats, and took those into the game tonight on the heels of last night's double off the wall," said Roberts. 

Utley's RBI double

"Did he yell at Saylor like he yelled at me?" -- Roberts, asking if Rich Hill was as angry with Rancho Cucamonga manager Drew Saylor removing him from a no-hitter Wednesday night as he was when Roberts did it in a perfect game last year in Miami

The Dodgers, at 13-6, are tied with the D-backs for the best home record in the National League.

Pirates: Gerrit Cole gets the call for the Pirates in Thursday night's 9:40 ET series opener with the D-backs at Chase Field. The right-hander has a 1.97 ERA and six walks to 36 strikeouts in his last five starts. Zack Greinke starts for Arizona.

Dodgers: The Dodgers open a four-game series at Coors Field Thursday in a 5:40 p.m. PT game, with Hyun-Jin Ryu returning from the disabled list and a left hip contusion. Ryu has allowed six home runs in 26 2/3 innings.

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

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

Steve Dilbeck is a contributor to based in Los Angeles. He covered the Pirates on Wednesday.

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