Neil Walker and Travis Snider helped the Pittsburgh Pirates come from behind and forced extra innings, but Vin Mazzaro surrendered 2 runs in the 11th inning that allowed the Dodgers to knock off the Pirates 5-3.
Brandon Cumpton was not expected to move mountains in his spot start for the Pirates, but he gave them a chance to beat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon.
Making his Major League debut, Cumpton went five innings and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits. Kershaw went slightly deeper in the game and had a 3-1 lead when he was removed.
In exciting fashion, the Pirates took it to the Dodgers’ bullpen and battled back. Walker drove in an eighth-inning RBI single off Paco Rodriguez to make it 3-2. In the ninth inning, Snider got the crowd going with his clutch pinch-hit homer off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
Cumpton came from the shadows during a time of need with a mangled starting rotation and showed everyone he could fit in. He had several bright moments and watched his new teammates take him off the hook in typical Pirates fashion.
Walker was at it again in the tenth as he doubled on a line drive to right field following a Russell Martin walk. Martin was held up at third by third-base coach Nick Leyva when Yaisel Puig cut the ball off before it reached the wall.
Juan Uribe’s RBI single and a run-scoring double by Nick Punto off Mazzaro in the 11th inning spoiled the comeback.
Cumpton held the Dodgers hitless for three innings, including striking out the first four batters he faced in the big leagues.
Unfortunately, midway through their third time through the lineup, the Dodgers figured the young right-hander out.
Skip Schumaker made it 1-1 in the fifth with an RBI single to right field. The Dodgers chased Cumpton in the sixth with three consecutive hits before the rookie recorded an out. Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with a ground-rule double to left-center. Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier followed with back-to-back singles.
Ramirez and Ethier took an extra base when left fielder Alex Presley overran Ethier’s hit. That would be the end of the road for Cumpton, who was replaced by Bryan Morris. Mark Ellis drove in a final run on a sacrifice fly that went on Cumpton’s line.
Kershaw went seven innings, allowing three hits and run, with three walks and eight strikeouts.
No one expected Cumpton to shine; Many just hoped he would give the Pirates a fighting chance against Kershaw. The team’s ninth-round selection from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft did more than anyone imagined. The man with less than three strikeouts in Indianapolis fanned the side in the first, which included Puig and Gonzales.
Cumpton struck out two more in the second, then no more, relying on his defense to protect the 1-0 lead he had been given in the first.
Alex Presley’s leadoff double and back-to-back walks of Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez set the Pirates up for a big first inning. Martin should have ended the inning by hitting into a double play, but the shortstop’s wild throw allowed Martin to be safe at first and Presley to score.