Published August 16, 2012
| Sports Network
Pittsburgh ace A.J. Burnett tries to salvage the finale of the season series against the Los Angeles Dodgers today when the Pirates host them in the finale of a four-game set at PNC Park.
Los Angeles, which swept a three-game series between the teams in April in California, made it three straight in Pennsylvania on Wednesday when Clayton Kershaw tossed eight strong innings while adding two hits, an RBI and a run scored in a 9-3 triumph.
Kershaw (11-6) allowed three runs on six hits with eighth strikeouts to win his fourth straight start.
"Any time you get that many runs you just try to attack the strike zone and make them beat you," Kershaw said.
Matt Kemp knocked in three runs for the National League West-leading Dodgers, who earned their fourth consecutive victory.
Wandy Rodriguez (7-12) surrendered five runs on 10 hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings to remain winless as a member of the Pirates. He is 0-3 over four starts with Pittsburgh since joining the team in a four-player deal with Houston on July 24.
"There was an assortment of different hits, but the overall command was what probably was challenging for him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Andrew McCutchen homered for the Pirates, who have lost to the Dodgers nine straight times.
The Dodgers assumed a one-game lead in the West when San Francisco lost to Washington on Wednesday, while Pittsburgh dropped to seven games behind Cincinnati and is now tied for second with St. Louis in the NL Central.
The 35-year-old Burnett, in his first season with the Pirates after a tumultuous stretch with the Yankees in New York, has a four-start win streak snapped on Aug. 11 with a 5-0 loss to San Diego.
He was 4-0 between July 26 and Aug. 5, however, defeating Miami, Houston, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati while combining to allow just five runs on 16 hits across 32 2/3 innings and trimming his earned run average from 3.78 to 3.19.
His 14 wins this season are his best since a career-high 18 with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008. In three seasons with the Yankees, he was 34-35 while posting ERAs of 4.04, 5.26 and 5.15.
Burnett is 3-3 in eight career meetings with the Dodgers.
Los Angeles counters with newly-acquired righty Joe Blanton, who's making his third start with the Dodgers and aiming for his first win.
The 31-year-old was 8-9 in 21 appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies before he was dealt for a player to be named later and cash on Aug. 3.
He began his West Coast stint with a no-decision after allowing five hits and two runs in six innings of the Dodgers' 7-6 win over the Cubs on Aug. 5, then took a 7-3 loss at Miami after surrendering four runs in five innings.
He's 2-1 in six lifetime meetings - five starts - with the Pirates.
The Dodgers won last year's season series, 6-2. Pittsburgh last won the season series in 2000.