Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw aims to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers unbeaten against Pittsburgh in 2012 when they visit PNC Park tonight for game three of a four-game set with the Pirates.
Los Angeles, which swept a three-game series in California in April, made it two straight in the current Pennsylvania-based matchup on Tuesday when Hanley Ramirez finished with three hits, two RBI and two runs scored, while Chad Billingsley continued his post-All-Star break roll in an 11-0 win.
Billingsley (9-9) won his fifth straight decision, giving up just five hits with five strikeouts and one walk over eight shutout frames.
He received plenty of support, as Luis Cruz finished with three hits and three runs batted in and Matt Kemp had two hits, two runs scored and one driven in for the Dodgers, who have won three straight and five of six overall.
"(Cruz has) been good since he came up. The ball jumps off this kid's bat," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Kevin Correia (9-7) took the loss, giving up six runs - five earned - on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk over six frames.
Garrett Jones, one game after registering four hits and three RBI, doubled in the loss, Pittsburgh's fifth in the last six games.
"(Billingsley has) been effective. He's been on a roll," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
The win kept the Dodgers tied with San Francisco atop the NL West Division, while the loss pushed the Pirates six games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.
Kershaw, who won 21 games last season, has won three straight in July/August after falling to 7-6 on the year with an 8-2 defeat at St. Louis on July 24.
He rebounded for a complete-game blanking of San Francisco five days later and has since beaten the Chicago Cubs and Miami in a pair of August starts.
In the three wins, Kershaw has allowed just three runs on 11 hits in 22 1/3 innings, lowering his earned run average from 3.14 to 2.86.
Pittsburgh counters with lefty Wandy Rodriguez, who makes his fourth attempt at a first victory in a Pirates uniform.
The 33-year-old Dominican was 7-9 in 21 starts with Houston before heading to Pittsburgh in a four-player deal on July 24.
He got a no-decision against the Astros in his first Pirates assignment on July 28 and has since dropped games to Cincinnati and Arizona while allowing 14 hits and seven runs in 13 innings.
In 12 career meetings with the Dodgers, Rodriguez is 5-4 with a 2.21 ERA.
The Dodgers won last year's season series, 6-2. Pittsburgh last won the season series in 2000.