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Pirates continue to be thorn in Dodgers' side

Sep 20, 2006 - 3:44 PM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are not enjoying facing the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Freddy Sanchez had four hits and an RBI and Jose Bautista homered to help lead the Pirates to a 6-4 victory over the Dodgers.

The Dodgers (79-73), who have lost two straight to the Pirates, remained one-half game behind the first-place San Diego Padres (79-72) in the National League West Division. Los Angeles is tied with Philadelphia (79-73) for the top spot in the wild card standings.

"We haven't been playing our type of baseball lately, but we need to turn it around if we want to make the playoffs," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "Just because the Pirates are out of playoff contention doesn't mean they are going to give us wins."

The slumping Dodgers, who have won just six of their last 17 games, threatened in the ninth inning against Salomon Torres. But the Pirates' closer struck out Jeff Kent with the base loaded to preserve the triumph and notch his 10th save.

"We definitely had a chance to come away with a win tonight, but we just didn't get the big hit that we needed in the last inning," Kent said.

Bautista, whose grand slam helped the Pirates post a 10-6 victory on Tuesday, hit his 15th homer in the third inning to open the scoring. Four batters later, Sanchez delivered an RBI double off Greg Maddux for a 2-0 lead.

"I just want to keep on going out there and try to help our team improve for next season," Sanchez said. "It's always good for a young team like us to get some wins against a team like the Dodgers."

Carrying a slim one-run advantage into the seventh, Pittsburgh expanded it to 6-2 when Jack Wilson hit an RBI single and scored later in the frame on catcher Russell Martin's throwing error. Xavier Nady capped the big inning with a ground-rule double that plated Sanchez.

"I made a mistake and probably should have not tried to throw the runner out, but mistakes happen and it came a bad time," Martin said of his throwing miscue while trying to prevent Wilson from stealing third base.

The Dodgers drew within 6-4 in the bottom of the frame on J.D. Drew's 18th homer of the season, a two-run blast.

Shawn Chacon (2-3) allowed four runs - two earned - in 6 2/3 innings to record his first win since August 3.

"I felt really good out there today," Chacon said. "I had all my pitches working for me all night, but I ran into some trouble late in the game. All I wanted to do was give us a chance to win."

In suffering his first loss in five home starts since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 31, Maddux (13-14) allowed three runs in five innings.

"I came here because they wanted a guy with experience down the stretch, and tonight I just didn't get it done," Maddux said. "We just have to put this game behind us and get ready for tomorrow and the rest of the games."

Pittsburgh has won five straight and six of its last seven. The Pirates entered the All-Star break with a 30-60 record but have gone 35-27 since.

"We're just trying to build some momentum into next season and build off all the good things we have been doing," Sanchez said.

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