The surprising Marlon Anderson slugged a three-run homer in the eighth inning to bring the Dodgers back to within four but there was no amazing comeback this time as they went 1-2-3 in the ninth.
The "if we're not going anywhere, neither are you" Pirates gleefully played spoilers and had one not known the differently would have sworn they were the pennant contenders.
The telling knife in the Dodgers' heart came when Elmer Dessens took over the Kuo who had loaded the bases in on a bloop double, a single and an intentional walk.
Dessens got the second out with a strikeout but Miguel Bautista, hitting .238, lined a shot to left field that Anderson dove into the seats just inside the 330-foot sign attempting to catch.
It was Bautista's 14th homer of the season and his second grand slam and made the 2-1 Pittsburgh lead an ugly 6-1 deficit the Dodgers could not overcome.
Xavier Nady hit his 17th home run leading off the fourth against Hong-Chih Kuo (1-5), who came in with a 1.50 ERA as a starter, to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead.
The Pirates then added four runs in the eighth against Brett Tomko, who has had a hideous September, to tuck the game away. Tomko now has a 4.63 ERA as a reliever, including three blown saves.
Kuo, making his third start after spending two seasons in the bullpen, gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
Rafael Furcal hit Snell's first pitch of the game over the wall in right-center for his sixth leadoff homer of the year and 18th of his career. Furcal became the third Los Angeles Dodger to hit as many as six leadoff homers in a single season. Davey Lopes had seven in 1979. He also hit six in 1980, and he and Todd Hollandsworth, who had six in 2000, are the only other L.A. Dodgers to hit as many as six.
Furcal also tripled home the Dodgers' second run in the bottom of the seventh, and then scored on Kenny Lofton's groundout.
The loss revealed the Dodgers Achilles heel, starters that cannot go deep in a game and a bullpen that cannot help them out when they do.
Kuo pitched well until he ran out of gas in the sixth inning. Manager Grady Little has Jonathan Broxton to work the eighth and Takashi Saito for the ninth but cannot seem to find someone to bridge the gap between without allowing the game to get out of hand.
Dessens retired five of the six batters he faced, but the sixth clubbed a grand slam. Tomko has allowed 10 runs (seven earned) in three innings over his past four appearances.
And, too, J.D. Drew is still a player looking for a lineup slot. He was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts while batting fifth and leaving five runners on base. While his on-base percentage remains high, he has had trouble knocking in runs.
Perhaps a switch in the lineup would benefit, moving Lofton into the leadoff slot, Drew into the second and using the hottest hitter on the team, Rafael Furcal, to hit third.
Or perhaps they should ride the hot bat of Marlon Anderson who was added to the roster as a utilityman but since has batted .448 (13-for-29), with four homers and seven RBI, and has an on-base percentage of .485.
But when writers asked Little if he had contemplated switching the lineup to get more clutch production out of the five hole, Little paused for some time before finally saying, simply, "No."
Score by innings Pittsburgh 010 104 040-10 Los Angeles 100 000 230- 6 Dodgers ab r h bi ave Furcal, SS 5 2 2 2 .298 Lofton, CF 5 0 1 1 .301 Garciaparra, 1B 4 0 0 0 .302 Tomko, P 0 0 0 0 .120 Beimel, P 0 0 0 0 .000 Carrara, P 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz, PH 1 0 0 0 .286 Kent, 2B-1B 2 0 2 0 .292 Loney, PH-1B 1 1 0 0 .264 Drew, RF 4 0 0 0 .274 Martin, C 2 1 0 0 .284 Anderson, LF 4 1 2 3 .298 Betemit, 3B 2 1 0 0 .265 Kuo, P 1 0 0 0 .000 Dessens, P 0 0 0 0 .000 Lugo, PH-2B 2 0 0 0 .282 Totals 33 6 7 6 Pirates 38 10 11 9 Error- Furcal. 3B- Furcal (8). HR- Furcal (15), Anderson (10). RBI- Furcal 2 (62), Lofton (37), Anderson 3 (33). S- Kuo. LOB- Los Angeles 6, Pittsburgh 3. Dodgers in h r-er bb so era Kuo (1-5) 5.1 6 5-5 2 8 4.72 Dessens 1.2 1 1-1 0 3 4.24 Tomko 0.2 4 4-1 0 1 5.01 Beimel 0.1 0 0-0 0 1 3.06 Carrara 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 4.67 WP- Tomko. T- 3-00. Att- 43,734.Taking the Night Off--Jonathan Broxton got the night off after appearing in 62 games this year, only 14 less than his total during the first four professional seasons of his career. …Greg Maddux will again attempt to turn things around tonight when he faces Shawn Chacon and the Pirates at Dodger Stadium.