Dodgers trapped in another loss, as Mattingly gets first ejection
A simple little 1-1 game turned into a nightmare for the Dodgers in the eighth inning Monday, when the umpires appeared to have missed a trapping call in the top of the inning that might have cost the Dodgers a run and then the Pirates scored three times in the bottom half.
When it was over, the Dodgers suffered a frustrating 4-1 loss to the Pirates and Don Mattingly had been thrown out of a game for the first time in his managerial career.
Chances are, Mattingly will remember that inning.
Pirates reliever Jose Veras started it all in the top of the eighth by hitting Matt Kemp with a pitch.
Struggling Juan Uribe then hit a sinking liner to left-fielder Jose Tabata, who made an awkward, diving attempt. That the umpires ruled a catch. It was a tough call, but one replay seemed to clearly show he had trapped it.
Thinking it was a hit, Kemp had already rounded second. Tabata popped up and easily doubled Kemp out at first base.
Mattingly argued to third base umpire Mike DiMuro that the ball was trapped, but to no avail. It was as animated as Mattingly has appeared all season.
He finally returned to the dugout, but when the bottom of the inning started and the Dodgers took the field, Uribe went straight to DiMuro, who quickly ejected the infielder. Just as quickly, Mattingly was ejected, too.
In his 36th game as a manager, Mattingly had earned his first ejection. Then the bottom of the inning made it all the more painful.
Chad Billingsley, who had been pitching well all night, suddenly lost it. He walked Garret Jones to lead it off, which is always a bad sign. Second baseman Neil Walker doubled past a diving James Loney at first and pinch-runner Xavier Paul, the former Dodger, scored.
That was it for Billingsley, but struggling Hong-Chih Kuo came on to make it worse. The left-handed reliever gave up consecutive run-scoring doubles to left-handed betters Lyle Overbay and Ryan Doumit.
And the Dodgers slunk off with a 16-20 record.
Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens started and lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk. He struck out two.
The Dodgers got to Karstens for their only run in the first inning. Aaron Miles singled with one out and went to third on Andre Ethier’s hit.
Uribe then bounced a hit past the less-than-mobile third baseman Pedro Alvarez to score Miles.
The Pirates evened it in the third against Billingsley. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno singled and, with two outs, Billingsley walked Tabata. Jones, something of a Dodger killer, singled to score Cedeno.
The victory for the Pirates left them at 18-17, the latest they’ve been over .500 since the 2004 season.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Umpire Mike DiMuro ejects Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly in the eighth inning Monday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Credit: Charles LeClaire / US Presswire