David Freese hit a grand slam and Cody Bellinger hit his 18th home run Friday as the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers clobbered the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-2 in a series opener.
In a faceoff of sluggers and early MVP contenders, Bellinger (entered the game hitting .394) was 1-for-5 with the homer, a two-run shot, and Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell (began game with .339 batting average) went 1-for-4 with a double.
The Dodgers, who have won eight straight games against the Pirates, piled up 13 hits.
Los Angeles starter Walker Buehler (5-1) allowed one run and five hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and one walk.
Pittsburgh went with an “opener” out of the bullpen, Michael Feliz (2-1), who had never started a major league game. He gave up five runs, including Freese’s slam, while facing six batters in one-third of an inning before giving way to Steven Brault.
Matt Beaty led off the game with a single, followed by Max Muncy’s RBI double. Justin Turner singled and, after Bellinger lined out, Corey Seager walked to load the bases.
Just after the scoreboard flashed a quick tribute for the former Pirate’s first trip back to PNC Park, Freese chased Feliz with a shot to right-center for a 5-0 lead, his third career grand slam and first since May 17, 2013 against Milwaukee.
Pittsburgh cut its deficit to 5-1 in the second when Bryan Reynolds singled, went to third on Colin Moran’s ground-rule double and scored on Elias Diaz’s groundout.
With two outs in the third, Freese and Kike Hernandez drew walks off Brault, and Austin Barnes followed with a two-run double for a 7-1 Dodgers lead.
Bellinger’s two-run homer to right-center in the seventh off Geoff Hartlieb made it 9-1. That came after Pittsburgh reliever Chris Stratton left the game because of right side discomfort after throwing five pitches and getting one out at the start of that inning.
The Pirates cut it to 9-2 in the bottom of the seventh on back-to-back two-out doubles by Kevin Newman and Adam Frazier.
Joc Pederson’s RBI triple in the eighth made it 10-2.
—Field Level Media