After ejections, Dodgers endure rough finale

After ejections, Dodgers endure rough finale

After ejections, Dodgers endure rough finale
PITTSBURGH -- For a team that's had so much to smile about lately, the Dodgers sure were angry Thursday afternoon at PNC Park.

Manager Don Mattingly and center fielder Matt Kemp were both ejected in the second inning, and starter Joe Blanton, who had a few words for home-plate umpire Angel Campos upon his departure in the fifth, was tossed as well. Blanton gave up eight runs -- including three homers -- and issued a season-high four walks, as the Dodgers dropped the finale of a four-game series to the Pirates, 10-6, in front of 25,073 fans at PNC Park.

"We're not frustrated coming into this game. We're playing good," Mattingly said. "We're trying to win every game, and when [Kemp] gets tossed right there -- again, he's going to probably get fined, I'm going to get fined -- it's not right. This is just not right. The league should look at it."

Kemp struck out in his first-inning at-bat, and he was yelling from the dugout with Andre Ethier batting an inning later. Campos ejected him, and Mattingly got the boot from crew chief Tim Tschida, too, when the manager came out to argue.

"Matt got thrown out today for cheering for Andre," Mattingly said. "He was barking about the pitch to Dre, the second strike, but then Angel said, 'That's enough. I don't want to hear another word.' So the next thing that came out of [Kemp's mouth] -- I heard it, clear as a bell -- he said -- because Matt knows where to stop -- and Matt said, 'Let's go, Dre!' And [Campos] looked over, and he threw him out of the game. It's unacceptable."

Both Kemp and Mattingly could only wonder how the game might have turned out if the center fielder hadn't been ejected with so much baseball left in the afternoon.

"It's unbelievable, man. I don't get it," Kemp said. "I'm sitting here, watching the game. There's some big moments, you know, bases loaded. You think about things like that. You might be up to bat. You might get that big hit.

"But that wasn't able to happen today, because I got kicked out of the game for something that wasn't worth getting kicked out of the game for."

Besides perhaps a strike zone that he found disagreeable, Blanton's biggest tormenter on Thursday was Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones, who hit two three-run homers, one in the first inning and another in the fifth. The second big fly came on an 0-2 pitch and gave Jones his 19th home run of the season and a career-high six RBIs in the game.

"I knew Joe was frustrated also," Mattingly said. "I think he was frustrated right away. Yeah, it seemed like from the first inning."

In 4 1/3 innings, Blanton threw 99 pitches, 62 for strikes. He also struck out four.

In addition to Jones' homers, Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit a solo shot off Blanton (8-11) in the fifth inning. The Dodgers right-hander also gave up an RBI triple to Clint Barmes in the fourth.

"I gave up two three-run homers to Garrett Jones," said Blanton, who declined to comment on the umpiring. "I made a couple of mistakes with runners on. I mean, that was six of the runs right there. That made it tough."

All those runs were hard to keep up with for Los Angeles, which hit Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett harder than he's used to, but not hard enough.

The Dodgers went yard twice off the Pirates' ace. James Loney hit a solo shot in the second inning, and Hanley Ramirez went deep with a two-run shot in the fourth. Before Ramirez's homer, Mark Ellis also scored on a throwing error by Alvarez.

Los Angeles also scored in the seventh inning, when Burnett loaded the bases before Ellis reached on an infield single and Juan Rivera was hit by a pitch to plate two runs.

"How many times is Matt going to come up in that game with guys in scoring position?" Mattingly said. "I know we couldn't stop them and they scored runs, so I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. We had our chances. But still, you just can't affect a game like that, for me."

Burnett (15-4) was the winning pitcher. He allowed six runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. He also racked up seven strikeouts while issuing one walk and hitting two batters.

Asked whether he sighed with relief when Kemp got ejected, Burnett said, "Yes and no. You don't really think of that during the game.

"I know they were fired up in there. They've got more than one big bat in their lineup. That's a good team."

After Los Angeles managed to cut the deficit to two runs in the top of the seventh, Pittsburgh got them both back in its half, when Barmes singled to left off reliever Jamey Wright with the bases loaded.

"It is what it is," Kemp said. "You turn the page. Those guys played an unbelievable game today. We did a great job of trying to come back. You've just got to let us play. Unfortunately, that didn't really happen today. But we had a great series. We beat a good team three times on the road. They got a win tonight, but the guys came in today and swung the bats really, really well."

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Dodgers, who had also won nine in a row against the Pirates.

"To me, this really isn't about being mad," Mattingly said. "This needs to go to the league, because we're in a pennant race, I got the guy that's second in the MVP last year. You can't get thrown out for cheering for your teammate. If we would have went out of control there, it's different. But that's unacceptable behavior, for me."

Mark Emery is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.