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Hiroki Kuroda leads Dodgers to 2-0 victory over Pirates

May 11, 2011 |  7:14 pm
Sometimes a team does just enough. It doesn’t have to be jaw-dropping or awe-inspiring, but just enough to slip away with victory.

Which is the way the Dodgers went about it Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, riding a strong outing from Hiroki Kuroda and scratching together a couple of runs in the sixth inning to eke out a 2-0 victory over the Pirates.

Kuroda (4-3) shut the Pirates out in his seven innings, giving up three hits. He struck out eight and walked three.

With Hong-Chih Kuo placed on the disabled list with anxiety disorder prior to the game, the Dodgers picked up scoreless innings from Matt Guerrier in the eighth and Vicente Padilla in the ninth to close it.

For Padilla, the Dodgers’ current closer, it was his third save in as many opportunities.

Kuroda, who had allowed five runs in the 5 2/3 innings of his previous start, was in control from the outset. He was using all his pitches, consistently keeping the Pirates off balance.

He took a no-hitter into the fifth, when, with one out, former Angel Brandon Wood’s broken-bat blooper landed in front of left-fielder Jerry Sands for a single.

The Dodgers weren’t doing much more with Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm. The game was scoreless through five innings, Maholm holding the Dodgers to three singles when he committed one of those cardinal sins for pitchers -- walking the leadoff hitter.

Maholm walked Ivan DeJesus Jr., batting just .200, on four pitches to open the sixth. It cost him too.

Andre Ethier followed with a slow bouncer he was able to beat out for an infield hit. Ethier has now reached base safely in 35 consecutive games, the longest streak for a Dodger since Jeff Kent reached in 37 consecutive games in 2007.

Maholm pitched Matt Kemp too carefully and ended up walking him to load the bases. Struggling Juan Uribe hit into a double play, but it did score DeJesus.

The Pirates then elected to intentionally walk Rod Barajas to get to Sands. Since Sands was batting .203, there was a certain logic to the move. Only Maholm kept pitching the right-handed hitting Sands outside, and the rookie has shown an early affinity for driving the outside pitch to right, which is exactly what he did.

Sands doubled down the line to score Ethier, and the Dodgers had their 2-0 lead.

The Pirates finally made a little noise in the bottom of the sixth when ex-Dodger Xavier Paul singled up the middle and Lyle Overbay walked with two outs, but Kuroda ended the threat by striking out catcher Chris Snyder.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Hiroki Kuroda delivers a pitch during the Dodgers' 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday. Credit: Charles LeClaire / U.S. Presswire