Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch during Wednesday's… (Keith Srakocic / Associated…)
Pretty sure Wednesday qualified as a good day for the Dodgers.
Their offense continued to roll; left-hander Clayton Kershaw was in relaxed control; they beat the Pirates, 9-3, to win their fourth consecutive game and they regained sole possession of first place in the National League West for the first time in a month.
All while the now second-place Giants were losing their No. 3 hitter, Melky Cabrera, to a 50-game drug suspension.
The Dodgers have started 5-1 on their 10-game road trip and are playing like an extremely focused club. That brief team meeting Don Mattingly had at the start of the trip in Miami -- to make sure the players valued each remaining game -- is now looking like the meeting of the year.
They beat up the Pirates for the third consecutive game in this series, which is not exactly news in Pittsburgh. The Dodgers now beaten the Pirates nine consecutive times overall.
The Dodgers have won six of their last seven overall, scoring at least five runs in each game won. The offense that has been so sporadic all season is now rolling. And the team's confidence seems to be swelling with each victory.
The night began badly for the Pirates when in the first inning second baseman Neil Walker dislocated a finger on his right hand when he hit the dirt after trying to turn a double play.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers jumped out in front and kept it coming. They scored once in the first, once in the third, three times in the fourth and four times in the seventh. They have not trailed the Pirates once during the last four games.
They finished the night with 15 hits, tying their season high. Good news was everywhere. Shane Victorino and Andre Ethier each had three hits, and Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez and Kershaw each had two. Matt Kemp drove in three runs.
Kershaw (11-6) won his fourth consecutive start and made it look easy. He went eight innings, allowing six hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight.
All while the storybook Pirates are suddenly going the other way. Pittsburgh has lost six of its last seven and fallen seven games back of the Reds in the Central Division.
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