Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/16/14

The Dodgers inched closer to the Pirates in the NL Wild Card race on Monday night with a 5-4 victory at PNC Park.

Jeff Karstens was able to go seven innings, but the Dodgers got enough good swings off him to get the job done. Jeff allowed seven hits–four of them for extra bases–and one poorly timed walk. He turned in the longest outing in a week by a Bucs starter, but LA was able to come up with some big hits against him. Shane Victorino delivered two of the big blows: an RBI double and a 2-run homer.

I could go on a rant about those whining about how the Bucs didn’t trade for Victorino, but I won’t do that just yet. I’ll just point out that Travis Snider has been more productive than him since both were traded…so save those complaints until that changes (which I hope it doesn’t).

The Bucs were able to stay in the game on offense, mostly thanks to a huge night from Garrett Jones. He went 4-for-4 with two big doubles (3 RBI’s)…and also made a great catch against the wall in RF that saved probably two more runs. Unfortunately, Jones didn’t have much help. Michael McKenry walked twice and hit an RBI single and Andrew McCutchen was on base twice, but the rest of the Bucs only managed two singles.

With the Pirates down 4-2 in the 8th, Juan Cruz walked two and hit a batter while recording just one out. Tony Watson came in and allowed one of Cruz’s runs to score, but that run would be crucial when the Pirates came back with two in the 8th to make it 5-4. Watson nearly allowed more in the ninth, but Jason Grilli came on in the middle of the inning (!!!) and got two big K’s to keep the Bucs close.

The Bucs didn’t play too badly tonight, but they dropped their fourth out of five and are now clinging to a lead in the wild card over these Dodgers (although they are now tied for the NL West lead with SF). It wasn’t a good start to a crucial week, but it’s tough to get too upset about a one run loss to a good club. Still, the Bucs are going to have to find a way to win these games if they’re going to hang on to this wild card lead (or get back into the division hunt).

Dodgers 5, Pirates 4 / Box / 2012 Record: 64-51 / Next: Tuesday, vs. Dodgers, 7:05

MVP: Jones (+.469) / LVP: Karstens (-.278) / Key play: Victorino’s HR


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