The Dodgers tied the score in the wild game in the seventh inning, taking Chad off the hook, but then Scott Elbert, Jason Johnson and Ramon Troncoso were battered for eight runs in the seventh inning and that, coupled with Arizona's win over San Francisco, cut the L.A. lead to 3 1/2 games.
As my great uncle Sherlock Holmes would have said, 'Twas the brothers LaRoche who did them in."
Adam LaRoche, and brother Andy, who was moved to the Pirates in the three-way Manny Ramirez trade, knocked in seven runs between them and Andy added three spectacular plays at third base to keep his old team away from the plate.
Adam hit a solo home run and a grand slam off Billingsley and Andy added a two-run single in the big seventh inning.
Two of Joe Torre's moves proved it was just one of those nights.
With the Dodgers leading 4-3 in the fifth, with the bases loaded and two out, Torre left Billingsley in the game to get the third out and thus qualify for the win.
Adam LaRoche knocked Chad out of the game with a drive that cleared nearly everything but the bridge over the Monongahela River behind the center field wall to give Pittsburgh a 7-4 lead.
Then in the seventh, with two out and no one on base, Torre removed Scott Proctor, who had retired the first five Pirates he had faced, to bring in lefthander Scott Elbert to face left-handed batter Nate McLouth, who has hit 23 of his 26 home runs off right handed pitchers.
Elbert had worked scoreless innings in five of his first seven appearances.
That didn't work either.
Elbert not only walked McLouth, he gave up a home run to Ryan Doumit (and was tagged with the loss because of it), then a single and a double before Jason Johnson was hustled in from the bullpen.
He couldn't find the third out, either, allowing a double, triple and a single. Ramon Troncoso had about the same luck, allowing a double and a two-run error by James Loney before finally getting a force place to end the nightmare inning with Pittsburgh now leading 15-8.
"I wasn't good. I didn't make pitches," said Billingsley, whose ERA jumped from 3.02 to 3.22. "Last week, I was missing out of the zone. Today, I was missing over the plate. I feel fine. I just wasn't good today. It happens."
Pittsburgh sent 12 men to the plate and had scored all eight runs after the first two batters made outs. In fact, 14 of their 15 runs came with two out and they only left three men on base.
Out in Arizona, where the Diamondbacks were trailing the Giants 3-1, the eight runs went up on the scoreboard about the same time the beleaguered Arizona offense put up five of their own and went on to win.
"It's a loss you have to put behind you," said Torre, whose club had won 14 of the previous 16 games. "The way we caught up, with Berroa doubling in the tying run, that's gift stuff. It looked good, but we couldn't get to the eighth inning."
The Dodgers had their chances but something happened each time they were about to break things open. They collected 19 hits, leaving the Dodgers Publicity Department scrambling to find the last time they had that many hits but still lost the game.
The Pirates, losers of 30 of their previous 43, had scored eight runs or more in a game —much less an inning— only twice in 46 games and it was the most runs the Dodgers had allowed in an inning (8) and in a game (15).
Nomar Garciaparra, playing first base in place of Loney with a left-handed on the mound, re-injured his left knee while attempting to score from second on a two-out single in the fifth inning. Garciaparra pulled up between third and home in at attempt to get back to third, only to be tagged out.
Elbert allowed single runs in the first and third innings before the Dodgers pasted a four on the scoreboard in the fourth. Manny Ramirez singled and scored on Garciaparra's double. Matt Kemp beat out an infield hit and Pablo Ozuna, making a rare start at second base (his fourth), singled in the second run. Russell Martin's two-out, two-RBI double made it 4-2.
LaRoche's first home run came in the fourth and his grand slam came in the fifth to put the Pirates up 7-4.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the top of the fifth on two-out singles by Garciaparra, Kemp and Ozuna but Garciaparra was tagged out between third and home while writhing in pain after twisting his knee.
Trailing 7-4 in the sixth inning, Angel Berroa singled, pinch-hitter Delwyn Young doubled. Martin's second single and Andre Ethier's long fly cut the lead to 7-6. Andy LaRoche then made a spectacular play on a shot off the bat of Casey Blake, turning into an inning-ending and probably a game-saveing double play.
The Dodgers tied the game 7-7 in the top of the seventh, and all those sevens didn't add up to a lucky number.
With two out, Ozuna beat out his his third hit of the game and scored on Berroa's double. But Berroa was thrown out attempting to stretch the hit into a triple.
Then the roof fell in on the bullpen and the Pirates put the game away.
James McDonald made his major league debut in the last of the eighth and made things look simple, retiring the side on a pop to second and a pair of strikeouts.
Singles in the ninth by Loney, Kemp (his fourth hit) and pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney resulted in only one run.
The Dodgers slipped to 79-73 and lost ground to Arizona for the first time since August 29.
This afternoon they will send rookie Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 4.41 ERA) to the mound in the final game of the series and the road trip.
?Kershaw allowed only one run on four hits over six innings on Saturday in Colorado. He'll be facing the Pirates for the first time in his career.
Opposing him will be the ace of the Pittsburgh staff, LHP Paul Maholm (9-8, 3.68 ERA). In his last outing he came up just short of his first shutout of the season. He allowed six runs (four earned) in five innings in his only other appearance against the Dodgers in April.
Score by innings Los Angeles 000 402 101- 8 Pittsburgh 101 140 80x-15 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Martin c 5 0 3 3 .279 Repko lf 1 0 0 0 .182 Ethier rf 4 0 1 1 .300 Ramirez lf 3 1 1 0 .400 Ellis c 0 0 0 0 .000 Blake 3b 5 0 0 0 .261 Garciaparra 1b 3 1 2 1 .252 Loney 1b 2 1 1 0 .297 Kemp rf 5 1 4 0 .289 Ozuna 2b 4 1 3 0 .261 Elbert p 0 0 0 0 .000 Johnson p 0 0 0 0 .000 Troncoso p 0 0 0 0 .000 McDonald p 0 0 0 0 .000 Sweeney ph 1 0 1 0 .138 Berroa ss 5 2 2 2 .248 Billingsley p 1 0 0 0 .082 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Young ph 1 1 1 0 .256 Proctor p 0 0 0 0 .000 DeWitt 2b 2 0 0 0 .263 Totals 42 8 19 8 Pittsburgh 29 15 15 13 Error- Blake (3), Loney (13). 2b hits- Garciaparra (8), Martin (24), Young (8), Berroa (13). SF- Ethier. RBI- Garciaparra (23), Ozuna (2), Martin 3 (67), Ethier (73), Berroa 2 (12). LOB- Los Angeles 11, Pittsburgh 3. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Billingsley 4.2 8 7-6 3 5 3.22 Beimel 0.1 0 0-0 1 0 2.22 Proctor 1.2 0 0-0 0 3 6.00 Elbert (0-1) 0.0 3 4-4 4 0 13.50 Johnson 0.0 3 3-2 0 0 5.20 Troncoso 0.1 1 1-0 0 0 4.59 McDonald 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 0.00 T- 3:22. Att- 11,883.The Long Arm of the Law
Russell Martin, Delwyn Young and Joe Beimel shook their heads and giggled when asked about how they were pulled over, individually searched and forced to sit on a curb by a police officer outside of PNC Park the previous night.
The players were at a late-night cafe across the street from the ballpark and accepted a ride back to their hotel from Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan.
They were stopped by the police, all individually searched and released without incident, The police told Morgan he was pulled over because of the vehicle's tinted windows. The recently purchased vehicle also didn't have a license plate.
"Before you know it, I was sitting on the curb," Martin said. "It's funny. It's 12:15 a.m., and I'm trying to get to the hotel to get some rest.
"Nice car, young African-American driver, we're in Pittsburgh -- we fit the description. It was embarrassing, I'll tell you that."
Morgan produced paperwork to show that the tinted windows were within legal limits and that the vehicle was registered, and the officers let them go.
Manny Denies MVP
DODGERS FYI When Manny Ramirez was asked about his chances to become the National League Most Valuable Player, he replied just as you would suppose he would.
"I voted for Pujols," Ramirez said.
Perhaps the vote that Ramirez was talking about was for the player of the year of the Players Choice Awards, for which the Dodgers were handed ballots. The MVP award is voted on by baseball writers.
But with Manny, you are never certain.
"It's nice that some people think I deserve it," Ramirez told the Los Angeles Times. "I'd like to win it. But I have to be realistic. Someone who was only here for two months doesn't deserve it. It should go to someone who played the full six months of the season.
"I've played 16 years, I've been a pretty good player and I've never won it," he said. "It's not a big deal. I'll go on with my life."
Manager Joe Torre had considered resting Ramirez in final game of the 10-game trip today, but Ramirez told him that it wouldn't be necessary.
2009 Schedule Released
The Dodgers will start next season in San Diego on April 6 and end it by hosting Colorado at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 4, according to the tentative schedule released Wednesday. Opening day at Dodger Stadium will be on April 13 against the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers' 18-game interleague schedule includes dates with teams in the AL West, as well as the Chicago White Sox.
Dodger Stadium will host the semifinals and finals of the World Baseball Classic from March 21-23, as well as exhibitions against the Angels (April 2) and Milwaukee Brewers (April 3-4).
Dodger Blue Notes-- Despite going 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position, the Dodgers also stranded 11 baserunners ...Ramon Troncoso, pitching for the first time in 15 days, allowed a bloop double, a groundout and a grounder that first baseman Loney threw away for an error. ... The Dodgers Dream Foundation will hold a sports memorabilia silent auction Saturday, Sept. 20 at Dodger Stadium to benefit the Manny Mota International Foundation. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on over 100 sports collectibles, including a Russell Martin signed, game-used bat and signed Dodger catching gear, as well as signed, game-used cleats by outfielder Andre Ethier and pitcher Chad Billingsley.