After blowing 4-run lead, Pirates rally with 2 runs in the ninth to stun Dodgers

Trailing the best team in baseball by a run in the top of the ninth inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to go for broke by taking a chance on a pair of plays at the plate.

Diego Castillo scored from second on a Michael Perez single to right for the tying run and pinch runner Michael Chavis took advantage of a fielding error to beat the tag for the game-winner.

After blowing a four-run lead, the Pirates pulled off a stunner by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-5, Monday night before 46,724 at Dodger Stadium to give manager Derek Shelton his 100th career win.

The Pirates have won three out of four games against the Dodgers, ensuring at least a split of the season series with two games to play.

“You can’t feel comfortable. This is arguably the best team in baseball with the best lineup in baseball,” Shelton said. “We’ve played well against them and we haven’t beat ourselves, which is the most important thing. You really have to execute because they’re so good.”

The Dodgers (33-15) overcame a 4-0 deficit with back-to-back home runs in the fifth, a solo shot in the sixth and two runs in the eighth against Pirates closer to David Bednar.

The Pirates (20-27) brought in Bednar with a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning, only to see Trea Turner hit a leadoff double to left. Left fielder Tucupita Marcano charged and scooped the ball and made a throw to second that beat Turner to the bag but the ball bounced off Diego Castillo’s glove.

Turner advanced to third on Will Smith’s fly out to right, but Bednar got Rios swinging at a 3-2 curveball for the second out. Justin Turner hit an 0-2 fastball for a double to the left-center to score Trea Turner to tie it at 4-4, then scored when Chris Taylor’s fly ball dropped in front of a sliding Jack Suwinski in right field for a 5- 4 Lead Dodgers.

It was quite the reversal from how the game started, as Marcano picked the perfect time for his first major league home run.

The Pirates got off to a good start against Dodgers righty Walker Buehler. After Josh VanMeter led off the second inning with a walk and Suwinski followed with a single to right, Marcano drove Buehler’s 2-0 fastball 402 feet to left field for a 3-0 Pirates lead.

“This is something I’ve been looking for for a while,” Marcano said through team translator Mike Gonzalez. “I was looking for a good pitch, especially a good pitch that I could square up and hit a home run. After I did it, to be able to see my child, my baby boy up there in the stands, it was life-giving, man, something I can’t explain.”

In the third inning, Bryan Reynolds crushed his seventh homer on a four-seamer off Walker, a former teammate at Vanderbilt. His shot of him sailed 419 feet to center to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead.

Pirates starter Zach Thompson mixed his cutter and sinker to keep the Dodgers scoreless through the first four innings before giving up the back-to-back homers. Thompson started the fifth strong, getting Gavin Lux to pop up to third. The next play drew a “wow” from the 6-foot-7 right-hander: Kevin Pillar’s liner bounced off the glove of shortstop Rodolfo Castro and into the right hand of second baseman Castillo, who fired it to first for the second out.

But Hanser Alberto sat an 0-1 cutter 380 feet over the left field wall for his first homer of the season to cut it to 4-1, and Mookie Betts followed by belting a 1-1 curve 391 feet to left to make it 4 -two.

Thompson allowed two runs on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts on 96 pitches before being pulled for lefty reliever Dillon Peters with two outs in the sixth to face lefty hitter Edwin Rios. It backfired when Rios blasted Peters’ first pitch — a slider — 379 feet over the left field fence to close the Dodgers’ deficit to 4-3.

Peters retired the next three batters before Alberto singled off Castro’s glove in the bottom of the seventh. This time, Castillo wasn’t there to save him, as the ball sailed into center. Betts drew a walk to bring Freddie Freeman to the plate with two outs and the go-ahead run on first, but Peters induced a groundout to end the inning.

But after nine saves, Bednar blew a lead for the first time this season. Then Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel blew one, as well. Castillo drew a one-out walk and reached second on a wild pitch. When Perez singled to right, Castillo raced home. Betts’ throw beat him home, but Smith swiped before Castillo crossed the plate and missed the tag.

Cal Mitchell reached on an error when Dodgers first baseman Freeman botched a backhand, and Chavis scored the go-ahead run from first to give the Pirates the lead. Shelton credited third base coach Mike Rabelo for making “two great sends,” especially testing Betts’ arm.

“It started with Diego’s at-bat. He gets down in the count — we’re talking about arguably one of the best closers of all time — and Diego works the walk and Mikey with a good at-bat,” Shelton said. “We just continued to grind, put the ball in play and good things happen. We were fortunate we were on the positive end of a miscue.

“I would be hard-pressed to say you’re going to find a better atmosphere in baseball. It was bouncing tonight, and they continued to stay level-headed and play well.”

The Dodgers threatened to score against Bednar — who threw 50 pitches in two innings — in the bottom of the ninth. Betts hit a ground-rule double to right-center and Freeman followed with a walk to put the winning run on base, but Bednar got Trea Turner to fly out to right then struck out Will Smith to clinch the victory.

“I wanted it, for sure,” Bednar said. “They asked me and I’m always going to want the ball in these spots. Good to win there. It was awesome.”

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at or via Twitter .

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