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Pirates fumble away a loss to Dodgers

Jim Tracy doesn’t like to make wholesale changes in his Los Angeles Dodgers lineup when it’s struggling. Just a little fine-tuning is all it takes sometimes.
Tracy batted Adrian Beltre third for only second time this season, and his decision turned out to be a good one.
Beltre and Shawn Green each hit two-run homers as the Dodgers beat the error-plagued Pittsburgh Pirates 10-5 Thursday night, tying a season high for runs in a home game.
“I’m not looking to send something out there that looks drastically different from anything that they’ve seen this year, because it’s not the time of the year in my opinion to do that,” Tracy said. “But I do deserve the right to do subtle little things like that. And I think it was very right to have Adrian Beltre hitting third.”
Tracy also started Chad Kreuter behind the plate against left-hander Jimmy Anderson instead of Paul Lo Duca, who is in an 0-for-13 drought and hitting .200 since the All-Star break. Kreuter responded with three hits.
“I’m just going through a rut where nothing’s going my way,” Lo Duca said. “Everybody’s asking me if I’m getting tired. I’m not getting tired. I’m just in a slump.”
The victory, coupled with losses by San Francisco and Arizona, put the Dodgers back in front in the wild card race by a half-game over the Giants. Los Angeles moved within six games of the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
Kreuter doubled with one out in the sixth against Anderson (8-12) and scored when Cesar Izturis blooped a 2-2 pitch into right field with two outs for a 6-5 lead.
Brian Jordan and Mark Grudzielanek added RBI singles in the seventh against Sean Lowe, and Green ended the scoring in the eighth against Josias Manzanillo with his 32nd homer.
Kevin Beirne (1-0) pitched one inning for his second career victory, despite giving up a game-tying solo homer by Craig Wilson in the sixth. Beirne’s other big league win was on June 14, 2000, for the Chicago White Sox.
Beltre, one of the Dodgers’ hottest hitters since the All-Star break, put them ahead 5-4 in the fifth with a first-pitch homer after a leadoff single by Marquis Grissom.
“Beltre’s been awesome. He’s been keeping us in this race,” Green said. “He’s in a groove right now. He’s been able to lay off that slider down and away, and he’s not missing his pitch when he gets it.”
Wilson tied it with a leadoff homer in the sixth, sending Beirne’s first pitch of the game to left-center for his ninth home run.
Before Beltre’s 16th homer, the Pirates executed spectacular inning-ending double plays in the third and fourth to preserve their 4-3 lead.
But Pittsburgh’s defense was atrocious in the first, when the Dodgers scored three unearned runs without a hit — using two walks, two errors, a double-steal, and consecutive sacrifice flies by Jordan and Eric Karros.
“It was one of those nights. It was just an ugly game,” Pirates catcher Jason Kendall said.
Second baseman Pokey Reese, a two-time Gold Glove winner, charged Izturis’ leadoff grounder and juggled the ball trying to get it out of his glove for the first of his two errors. Two batters later, third baseman Aramis Ramirez went down on one knee to backhand Beltre’s grounder, and the ball deflected off his glove as Izturis scored from second.
“We didn’t play defense or pitch very well,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We gave a good team too many outs, and with that combination of things it normally ends up being a long night.”
Reese and Ramirez atoned for their early defensive mistakes by driving in Pittsburgh’s first two runs during a four-run third. Reese led off with his third homer and Ramirez had a two-out RBI single. Kevin Young capped the rally with a bases-loaded two-run single.
Dodgers starter Kazuhisa Ishii allowed four runs, four hits and five walks in five innings. He walked at least five batters for the ninth time in his last 18 starts.
“It’s frustrating, because you know this guy has tremendous talent — and we’ve seen it,” Jordan said. “But he’s been off and on. He’s either going to go out there and have a great game, or he’s going to throw a lot of pitches and have a rough time. Hopefully, he’ll regain his control.”
Anderson lost his third straight start, allowing six runs — three earned — and eight hits in six innings.
Notes: The Pirates tied a season high with four errors. They also did it May 13 in an 11-0 loss to Arizona. … Anderson is 0-4 with a 8.59 in four starts against the Dodgers since beating them 12-1 on Sept. 4, 2000, for his first career complete game. … The Pirates are 33-24 when they don’t commit an error, and 18-39 when they do.