A Complete Dodgers Effort Tops Pirates

Despite a troublesome April, the Los Angeles Dodgers are perfect in May.

Tonight’s 5-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates (10- 3) at Dodger Stadium was the first of the new month for the home team (9-14.) On an evening that turned brisk quick the Dodgers looked strong, playing well-rounded baseball. This look opposed the uneven ball that was the Dodgers' rough April, where they showcased a plethora of weaknesses.

The Dodgers pitched rookie Carlos Monasterios in his first major league start. His seven relief appearances in April had been a bright spot for the bullpen. Tonight’s performance was a mix of looking like that, and making the fans nervous.

“He bent but he didn’t break,” said Manager Joe Torre. “That was the most important thing.”

The Skipper had estimated that Monasterios wouldn’t pitch a lengthy game, and that was the case. The 24 year-old lasted four innings and 73 pitches. Despite control problems (including two hit batsmen,) he held the Pirates to just one run in the form of Andrew McCutchen’s solo homerun in the game’s first frame.

The rest of the Dodgers pitching staff shutout the Pirates. After pitching three brilliant innings of long relief, Ramon Ortiz (1-1) earned the Dodger win. He allowed just two hits while striking out five.

“It was nice and clean,” said Torre of this evening’s Dodgers relief pitching which also featured Hong-Chih Kuo and Ramon Troncoso.

The bulk of the Dodgers offense came via the hot bat of Andre Ethier.

“He’s on it right now,” said Torre of Ethier's recent form.

His three-run homerun (#7) in the third off of the night’s losing pitcher, Zach Duke (2-3,) landed in the All You Can Eat section (right field bleachers.) It gave the Dodgers the lead they would keep. He also had two doubles on the night.

The Dodgers combined for eleven total hits. James Loney had two doubles and Reed Johnson had a single and a double.

Another April weakness that looked like a May strength was defense. The Dodgers played a night of strong, error-free defense.


And Whatnot

* Skipper Joe Torre’s horse, Homeboykris, finished 16th in today’s Kentucky Derby.

* Minor leaguer Andrew Lambo has been suspended for 50 games for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

* On the Disabled List, Manny Ramirez showed progress towards his returning to the club and took part in today’s pre-game batting practice.

* Tomorrow’s game, the last of the four game series, goes off at 1:10 PM at Chavez-Ravine. The Dodgers will throw Hiroki Kuroda (2-1)


Follow Caleb Bacon on Twitter @thecalebbacon.