Andre Ethier homered twice and drove in four runs, Blake DeWitt had his first four-hit game in the majors and James Loney added a pair of run-scoring hits to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-3 on Sunday.
Hiroki Kuroda (3-1) allowed a run and five hits over eight innings, struck out three and walked one.
The two-time defending NL West champs have won three straight for the first time this season, following a five-game skid that included a 2-0 loss to the Pirates on Thursday.
Ethier, who led the club in home runs last year and set a Dodger Stadium record for left-handed batters with 22, was 8 for 16 with nine RBIs during the four-game series.
Jeff Karstens (0-1) gave up six runs and 11 hits over five innings in his second start of the season after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. The right-hander was the third Pirates starter in this four-game series who had never faced the Dodgers before, along with Brian Burres and Charlie Morton. The three of them combined to give up 12 runs (nine earned), 21 hits and seven walks with 14 strikeouts.
The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI doubles by Loney and DeWitt after a leadoff walk to Matt Kemp. They added a run in the third when Xavier Paul led off with a triple and scored on Ethier’s single.
Paul led off the Dodgers’ three-run fifth with a bloop single and scored on Ethier’s eighth homer. Kemp followed with a fly-ball double that right fielder Ryan Church lost in the sun, and Loney drove him in with a single.
This was the third straight season in which something bizarre happened to Church at Dodger Stadium in May. Two years ago with the Mets, he tried to make a leaping catch of DeWitt’s drive to right field — but the ball struck the top of the fence and Church ended up on his back while DeWitt circled the bases with a go-ahead, inside-the-park homer.
Last year, Church came all the way home from first base with an apparent go-ahead run for the Mets on Angel Pagan’s two-out drive to the right-center fence — but was called out on appeal for missing third base.
Pittsburgh got on the board in the fourth when Garrett Jones doubled and scored on Adam LaRoche’s groundout. Jones was back in the lineup at first base, one day after checking himself into a hospital because of a blockage of food in his esophagus. He had two doubles, one of which drove in a run in the ninth.
The defensive gem of the game was turned in by Dodgers third baseman Ronnie Belliard, who made a sprinting catch of Bobby Crosby’s popup in short left field with his back to home plate and doubled up LaRoche at first base on a close play that led to an argument between manager John Russell and umpire Kerwin Danley.
NOTES: Jones explained before the game that the blockage was caused by a piece of beef that was part of a catered meal served in the clubhouse after Friday night’s game. “I knew there was something stuck in there. And everything I’d drink, I’d just throw that up, too,” said Jones, who was anesthetized during the half-hour procedure. “It was blocking right where the esophagus connects to the stomach, and they just pushed it through. It was no fun, but it could have been a lot worse.” … Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez, who has missed the last 10 games because of a strained right calf, is scheduled to begin a brief rehab assignment with Class-A Inland Empire on Tuesday.