Tomko, Dodgers fall to Pirates
Right-hander not helped by defense in first defeat
LOS ANGELES -- On the day after Russell Martin's walk-off grand slam, the Dodgers came out flat, committing three errors and handing the Pirates the final game of the series, 7-5, on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
Brett Tomko came into the game looking to pick up his first win of the season, but from the outset, he just couldn't catch a break.
"I'm just going to chalk this one up as one of those days," Tomko said. "It's tough. It's not a good way to lose a baseball game."
Tomko (0-1) was referring to the three errors -- one in the first inning and two in the third -- which cost him three runs in the first three innings and put the Dodgers in a 3-0 hole going into the fourth inning.
For the most part Tomko was effective, inducing ground balls and keeping the ball out of the upper half of the strike zone. He went six innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits while striking out seven.
"I felt good out there. I felt my stuff was working," Tomko said. "We had some crazy things happen today, but that's part of the game. We just have to minimize those things."
The Pirates, who scored in the first inning on Friday and Saturday, jumped to an early lead again, capitalizing on a throwing error by Martin. Pirates leadoff hitter Chris Duffy hit a dribbler up along first and avoided the tag by Olmedo Saenz.
Duffy then stole second and advanced to third on Martin's throwing error. Duffy scored on a groundout by Freddy Sanchez to give the Bucs the early lead.
The third inning turned into a nightmare for the Dodgers' defense. Duffy led off with a single, stole second three pitches later and took third on wild pitch by Tomko. Jack Wilson hit a sharp grounder to Jeff Kent, who dived to his left making the stop but threw wide to first, allowing Wilson to take second and Duffy to score.
"It's a concern, but as long as the errors are of an aggressive manner it's not much of a concern," said Dodgers manager Grady Little. "There were a lot of things that happened out there today that don't happen when you win games. I'm not going to go back and itemize what went wrong. We'd kill ourselves trying to figure out what we could have done differently."
One batter later, Juan Pierre took his eye off of a routine fly ball by Jason Bay, missing it completely, allowing Wilson to score from third, and prompting the boo-birds from the 46,741 fans in attendance.
The Dodgers came back in the fourth to score two runs, one by Rafael Furcal, who singled and scored on an infield single by Luis Gonzalez, and the other by Saenz, who doubled and scored on a base on balls to Clark.
With the score 3-2 in the sixth inning, Adam LaRoche hit a solo shot to left center off Tomko, and the Bucs' added another run to go up 5-2.
The Dodgers added a run in the sixth off a Saenz homer to left-center field, but the Pirates answered with two runs off reliever Chad Billingsley in the seventh making the score 7-3.
In the eighth, the Dodgers made a game of it by scoring twice more. Martin hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and one out, scoring Pierre, and Nomar Garciaparra, pinch-hitting after getting the day off, lined a single to right, scoring Saenz.
Andre Either hit a fly ball to right fielder Nate McLouth, who misplayed it and dropped it in front of the warning track, allowing Either to reach base to start the ninth, giving what was left of the 46,741 fans a dash of hope. Pierre followed by banging the first pitch he saw into right field, putting runners on first and second with one out.
But Pirates killer Saenz, who earlier doubled and homered, struck out, and Kent grounded to third ending the game.
"It was admirable the way the boys kept battling," Little said. "We had an opportunity there in the end but that's the way it goes. We're not going to win them all."
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.