Wolf wonderful in rout of Bucs
Lefty strikes out 10 in six strong innings, picks up two RBIs
LOS ANGELES -- Friday was not an ordinary night at Dodger Stadium. There was rain in the forecast, it was a chilly 52 degrees at game time and Randy Wolf had two doubles, two RBIs and 10 strikeouts.
The Dodgers did away with the Pirates in a rather easy manner, scoring six runs in the third inning on their way to a decisive 10-2 victory.
It was Wolf (3-1) who led the charge for the Dodgers. The lefty struggled in the first two innings, giving up a run on a broken-bat single by Xavier Nady that drove in Jack Wilson, but he bounced back in a big way to pitch six strong innings to pick up the win.
"I think early on I was going 3-2 in the count to too many batters," Wolf said. "That's kind of been the trend lately, but I'm trying to stop that."
Wolf has struggled early in games this season, and has yet to go more than six innings in any of his starts. He was ready to go seven innings Friday, but manager Grady Little decided six was enough.
"This guy is a competitor," Little said. "He had a slow start on the mound. He was missing with some pitches early, but from then on he gained his command."
And once Wolf gained his command, the night was all his. The lefty dialed in with his fastball and mixed in a slider, curveball and changeup, working his way through the Pirates' lineup, giving just six hits and one walk.
After the Pirates took the early 1-0 lead in the first, the Dodgers came out with a purpose in their half of the inning. Rafael Furcal got the ball rolling with a leadoff walk and advanced to third base after Juan Pierre hit a seeing-eye single past the glove of second baseman Freddy Sanchez.
Pierre then stole second without a throw, setting up Nomar Garciaparra's two-run single into right-center field to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
"Furcal was the key in that first inning," Pierre said. "He battled his way on base, drawing the walk, and that set it up for me to get a hit and Nomar to drive us in."
Pierre, who has been on a tear the last couple of games, was 3-for-4 with two stolen bases and three runs scored. Pierre has been the catalyst in the Dodgers' lineup the last few games, hitting .500 (11-for-22) during his season-high five-game hitting streak.
"Baseball is a funny game like that," Pierre said. "I couldn't get hit in the first week, and now the ball is falling in."
The Dodgers did the majority of their damage in the third inning, when they sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored six runs on five hits. Pierre hit a one-out single and stole second, igniting the Dodgers' lineup. Garciaparra walked and Jeff Kent followed with a base hit that plated Pierre. Luis Gonzalez then drove a ball into center field to drive in Garciaparra and advance Kent to third. Russell Martin was then hit on the arm, and Andre Either's sacrifice fly to left scored Kent.
Gonzalez scored on Wilson Betemit's single to right, which set the stage for Wolf's first double of the night. Wolf ripped the first pitch he saw down the right-field line, scoring Betemit and Martin and ending Pirates starter Tony Armas' night.
"I hit two home runs in a game once," Wolf said. "I think I got more pats for my hitting than my pitching. It was one of those fun games."
For the Dodgers, this game marks the second consecutive night in which they scored eight or more runs and had 10 more hits, prompting Little to say the guys are hitting the ball well.
"Everybody is chipping in and we're getting a lot of production," Little said. "That's what we're like and that's the way it's going to remain."
Ethier, who switched back to a heavier bat this past week, had another good game, hitting a line-drive home run to right field in the fifth and making a spectacular sliding catch in right field on a ball that was slicing foul down the line in the fourth inning.
"I'm just going up there trying to have good at bats," Either said. "We're not a team that's going to hit a lot of home runs. We're a club that's going to hit a bunch of doubles."
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.