The Pirates got five hits, and more importantly two runs, off the Dodgers' Josh Beckett on Friday night in his first start since hurling a no-hitter against the Phillies on Sunday.
It wasn't all that much offense, but it was enough to get a win and chase Beckett after five innings. The Bucs will try to repeat that performance Saturday night, this time against a pitcher who almost repeated Beckett's feat the next day.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the mound for the Dodgers, for the first time since taking a perfect game into the eighth inning Monday against the Reds. Cincinnati was able to strike for three runs off Ryu in the eighth and chase the Korean left-hander after 7 1/3 innings, but not before Ryu recorded seven strikeouts and drummed up chatter of a team throwing back-to-back no-hitters.
"[Ryu] was great through seven," said catcher Drew Butera, who also caught Beckett's no-no. "I thought he was good in the eighth, too. It was just the third time through the lineup, they'd seen most of his pitches at that point. It was fun for me. He had all his pitches working. It would've been a lot of fun if he'd got it."
Brandon Cumpton will be making his fourth start of the season for Pittsburgh. Cumpton made two starts in late April/early May, but was sent back to Triple-A when Wandy Rodriguez was healthy enough to rejoin the rotation.
The Pirates cut ties with Rodriguez on May 22, opening a spot in the rotation and an opportunity for Cumpton. He got a Memorial Day nod against the Mets and was reliable. The Georgia Tech product scattered seven hits in six innings and allowed two runs -- only one of which was earned.
Dating back to last season, when Cumpton debuted in the Majors, the righty has shut out opponents through the first four innings in seven of his eight big league starts. He has never allowed more than three earned runs in a start, but the damage against Cumpton tends to be done the third time through the order.
"It's hard for a Major League pitcher to get through a lineup a third time with two pitches -- unless it's two wipeout pitches," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "That'll be a huge development challenge for him, to establish himself as a legitimate Major League pitcher."
Pirates: Barmes gets another start at short
Clint Barmes started his second straight game at shortstop Friday, and he's been a part of Clint Hurdle's initial lineup five times in the past nine games.
Barmes did not quite match the three-hit performance he posted against the Dodgers in the series opener, but he did score a run in the Bucs' second straight win. Hurdle said Barmes -- who is hitting .241 in 24 games (16 starts) -- would get two starts against the Dodgers, giving some rest to slumping Jordy Mercer.
Mercer has started 38 games at shortstop but has been especially cold at the plate lately. Mercer is in the midst of an 0-for-20 slump and his season average has dropped to .190. Hurdle sounded like he would have Mercer back in the lineup Saturday.
Dodgers: Struggles continue with bases loaded
Dodger Stadium came alive in the bottom of the fifth inning Friday, and for good reason.
Yasiel Puig was at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded, poised to change course for the Dodgers, who were trailing, 2-0. To the dismay of the Dodgers faithful, however, Puig popped out to second base and the team missed a prime opportunity.
Seeing a player come up empty with ducks on the pond is nothing new for the Dodgers this season. Los Angeles is hitting a Major League-worst .111 with the bases loaded, and the team has produced just 15 RBIs in 36 at-bats. The Major League average with the bags full is .240 this season, and Cleveland leads the league with a scorching .429 bases-loaded clip.
• The Pirates have a chance at a third straight win in Dodger Stadium on Saturday. They have not accomplished that feat in Chavez Ravine since Sept. 4-6, 2000.
• Cumpton made his Major League debut against the Dodgers on June 15, 2013. He got a no-decision and allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out five in five innings at PNC Park.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.