David Freese hit a grand slam off opener Michael Feliz and Cody Bellinger added his 18th homer, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-2 on Friday night.
The Pirates gave Feliz his first major league start in 157 career appearances in an effort to address their injury-riddled starting rotation. The move backfired. Feliz recorded just one out and exited after Freese sent a pitch into the first row of seats in right-center field for his fourth homer of the season and third career grand slam.
Bellinger, whose 45-game on-base streak ended Wednesday, kick-started another one by hitting a two-run shot in seventh off Geoff Hartlieb. By then the Dodgers had things well in hand. Bellinger finished 1 for 5, and his major league-leading batting average dipped to .389.
Walker Buehler (5-1) cruised after being given the early cushion. Buehler worked six innings, allowing one run and five hits.
Kevin Newman had an RBI double for Pittsburgh. First baseman Josh Bell, who began the day leading the majors with 47 RBIs, went 1 for 4 but it wasn’t nearly enough for the Pirates.
Pittsburgh lost its seventh game by at least eight runs when Feliz — named the starter a few hours before first pitch as Pittsburgh scrambles to find answers for a rotation missing Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams — failed to keep the Dodgers in check.
The surprise decision to start Feliz initially threw Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts off balance. He switched his platoon-heavy lineup three times before settling on one he hoped would be effective against the right-handed Feliz and left-handed Steven Brault, who Roberts correctly figured would come in whenever Feliz exited.
The tinkering worked. Matt Beatty led off with a single, Max Muncy followed with an RBI double and Justin Turner singled to put runners on the corners. Feliz managed to handle Bellinger but then walked Corey Seager to load the bases for Freese.
The speakers at PNC Park briefly blasted Freese’s walk-up song, a tribute of sorts to the veteran third baseman who played two-plus seasons in Pittsburgh before being traded to Los Angeles last summer. Freese returned the kindness by ripping a laser just over the fence for his first grand slam since May 17, 2013, while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Feliz left for Brault, who gave up two runs while grinding through 5 2/3 innings. Buehler threw 74 of his 99 pitches for strikes and worked his way out of minor trouble in the second and fifth innings to win for the first time in three starts.
Dodgers: RHP Joe Kelly was placed on the bereavement list, and OF Kyle Garlick was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Kelly is expected to rejoin the team on Monday. … RHP Pedro Baez (right leg contusion) went through a pregame workout and could return to action over the weekend after getting hurt against Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Pirates: LF Corey Dickerson (strained right shoulder) went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in a rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis. … RHP Chris Stratton left after throwing six pitches in the seventh inning. Stratton grimaced after firing a strike to Joc Pederson and motioned for the trainer before exiting with right-side discomfort.
Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-1, 1.52 ERA) will look for his fifth straight win on Saturday. The 32-year-old left-hander has allowed just four walks in 59 1/3 innings this season.
Pirates: Joe Musgrove (3-4, 3.67 ERA) is winless in two career starts against the Dodgers.