The Pittsburgh Pirates had to wait until the 28th game of the season to finally get a win by a starting pitcher, so it only makes sense that they snapped their historic streak against arguably the best team in baseball.
Jose Quintana tossed six scoreless innings, and Michael Perez and Jack Suwinski homered as the Pirates pounded 15 hits for a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night before 8,527 at PNC Park. It marked their first victory over the Dodgers since June 6, 2018, a 20-game stretch of futility.
“It’s about winning games. I’m really happy to be the first one,” Quintana said. “When you play games like that, your confidence goes a little higher, especially when you play teams like the Dodgers. It’s good. It’s really good for our clubhouse, to go up there and play 100%.”
It was the first victory for the 33-year-old left-hander in 20 starts and 42 appearances, since a 10-5 win over Milwaukee on Sept. 5, 2019, when he was pitching for the Chicago Cubs. In between, Quintana endured surgery on his left thumb and being banished to the bullpen, calling 2020 a “tough year” and 2021 the “worst” of his career.
“I never quit,” Quintana said. “I keep working hard. I know this day would come one day. I’m really happy to get a win against a team like that.”
Quintana (1-1) became the first Pirates pitcher to eclipse the 100-pitch count (102) this season, allowing two hits, four walks and hit one batter but struck out five, including two of the final three batters he faced. Asked how he felt afterwards, he flashed a smile and said “sore.”
Pirates manager Derek Shelton credited Quintana for how he navigated a right-heavy Dodgers lineup to earn the win.
“He pitched really well,” Shelton said. “He executed (against an) all-right-handed lineup that is as good of a lineup as you’ll see in the National League, and he did a really nice job with them. … To come out and do it against that lineup is really impressive.”
Michael Chavis led off the fourth inning with a hard-charging triple to the visiting bullpen in left-center, sliding head first to beat the relay throw to third. He scored on a sacrifice fly to right, beating Mookie Betts’ 95-mph throw to the plate for a 1-0 Pirates lead.
That was cushion enough for Quintana, who got some help in the field, as Ben Gamel made a diving catch in left in the first inning to rob Justin Turner and Jake Marisnick stretched out for a spectacular catch to steal one from Hanser Alberto in the fourth . Marisnick, however, landed awkwardly on his glove and left the game with a left thumb injury.
Dodgers lefty Julio Urias escaped a couple jams with runners in scoring position. In the fifth, he stranded Ke’Bryan Hayes at third and Bryan Reynolds at first by getting Chavis to ground out to short. In the sixth, Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a leadoff single and advanced to third on Diego Castillo’s single but Urias got Gamel to pop out to Alberto in foul territory along the third base line.
The Pirates used switch hitter Cole Tucker to pinch-hit for Marisnick, and he worked a full count before Urias got him swinging at an 84-mph curveball for the final out.
Lefty Anthony Banda replaced Quintana in the seventh but walked Gavin Lux and gave up a single to Betts before getting Freddie Freeman to fly out. Wil Crowe relieved Banda and got Trea Turner to pop out to first escape the scoring threat.
Urias wasn’t so fortunate. Catcher Michael Perez, starting for the injured Roberto Perez, sent his 1-1 fastball into the visiting bullpen in left-center for his second home run in as many games, giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Phil Bickford replaced Urias but Hayes singled and stole second base, reaching third on a throwing error by catcher Austin Barnes and scoring on a sacrifice fly to center by Chavis for a 3-0 Pirates lead.
Jack Suwinski drove a Robbie Erlin 1-0 slider 425 feet to center for his first major league homer, a two-run shot with a 109.2-mph exit velocity that gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead.
Edwin Rios, pinch-hitting for Alberto, hit David Bednar’s first pitch of the ninth inning over the center field fence to put the Dodgers on the scoreboard and cut it to 5-1. Bednar retired the next three batters to finish off the Dodgers.
“I think it starts and stops with pitching,” Shelton said. “And, obviously, we got the homers there at the end. It was a well-played baseball game.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .