His neck hurts, he’s 36 years old, on a middling team and very possibly playing his final season in the majors.
And Hiroki Kuroda is still here, still soldiering on, still fighting the aches and disappointments and pains of age to take his turn in the Dodgers rotation every five days.
Kuroda was back at it Friday night, after a recent MRI exam showed no new damage to his old bulging disk, still mixing his plethora of pitches with effective results.
In what may have been his final start in Los Angeles, Kuroda went six strong innings to lead the Dodgers to a 7-2 victory over the Pirates before an announced crowd of 41,148.
Kuroda (12-16) allowed two runs (one earned), while holding the Pirates to five hits and a pair of walks. He struck out seven. Kuroda will become a free agent at the end of the season.
He fell behind in the second inning after giving up a single and a walk, when rookie Dee Gordon’s throw to first base sailed wide for a run-scoring error.
The Dodgers tied the score in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back doubles by Jerry Sands and Rod Barajas, and took the lead with a pair of runs in the third.
Gordon singled and stole second, and Justin Sellers walked before Matt Kemp’s hit scored Gordon. Juan Rivera beat out a potential double-play relay to first base to allow Sellers to score and put the Dodgers ahead, 3-2.
The Pirates got one back in the top of the sixth inning on an Alex Presley solo home run, but the Dodgers came back in the bottom of the inning to score four times –- three on a pinch-hit home run by James Loney.
Russ Mitchell, Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles each singled to start the bottom of the sixth inning. A Gordon groundout scored Mitchell before Loney launched a two-out, full-count offering from reliever Chris Resop into the right-field pavilion.
Loney had been one for 10 as a pitch-hitter this season, without an RBI.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda delivers a pitch against the Pirates on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Kelvin Kuo / US Presswire