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Dana Eveland makes it a return to remember in Dodgers' 6-4 win at Pittsburgh

September 1, 2011 |  4:29 pm

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Dana Eveland looked lost, looked buried.

The last time the left-hander pitched in a major-league game was on June 23, 2010. In 2 2/3 innings for the Pirates that day, he gave up six earned runs. He was left with a 6.79 ERA and sent to the minors.

Pittsburgh was his fifth major-league team in six years. His career did not look promising.

In the off-season, he signed with the Dodgers and no one really noticed. It was a flier. He was sent to triple-A Albuquerque to begin the season and stayed there for 25 starts. Then on Thursday afternoon he got his first start for the Dodgers, in -– of all places -– Pittsburgh.

The 27-year-old from Palmdale High School made perseverance pay off, holding the Pirates to one run and six hits over eight innings and leading the suddenly hot Dodgers to a 6-4 victory in a makeup game.

For the Dodgers, it marked their fourth consecutive victory and ninth in 10 games.

The Dodgers helped make it an easy return by scoring three times in the first inning against the quickly fading Pirates.

Dee Gordon celebrated his return to the roster after being out because of a sore shoulder by leading off with a single. Matt Kemp singled him to third. Kemp stole second and, after an intentional walk to Andre Ethier, Aaron Miles singled in two runs. Ethier scored on a Tony Gwynn Jr. sacrifice fly and Eveland had a 3-0 lead.

Maybe it relaxed Eveland, but he seemed in control from the start. He gave one run back in the second, when after a pair of singles, Pittsburgh scored on a double play.

Otherwise, Eveland was the model of efficiency. He was around the plate, changed speeds, really pitched. In his eight innings, he threw only 99 pitches, 65 for strikes. He gave up six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three.

With rookie right-hander Nathan Eovaldi likely to start only one more game before the Dodgers pull him back to protect his young arm, Eveland now becomes a leading candidate to take his place in the rotation.

The Dodgers provided Eveland some cushion by scoring once in the seventh inning and twice in the eighth. Hot-hitting James Loney and Kemp singled in the seventh, with Loney scoring on a wild pitch. Gordon singled in two more in the eighth.

Those runs were needed to assure Eveland the victory, after reliever Blake Hawksworth gave up a two-run homer to Alex Presley in the ninth. Kenley Jansen then gave up his first run since May 28, but finished it to earn his third save.

For the Pirates, it was just more of the same. Pittsburgh was 51-44 on July 23, but has gone 11-31 since.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starter Dana Eveland delivers a pitch during the second inning of the Dodgers' 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. Credit: Gene Puskar / Associated Press

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