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Locke stays hot, Pirates blank Dodgers

Jun 15, 2013 - 4:04 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Jeff Locke extended his personal winning streak with seven innings of two-hit ball and the Pirates bullpen bridged the gap to a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday at PNC Park.

The Dodgers beat up Locke (6-1) in his first start of the season, but he hasn't been tagged with a loss since -- a span that stretches 13 starts.

The young lefty retired the last 11 batters he faced and allowed just a pair of singles over his stellar outing.

"He came to pitch," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "He was on top of his game, throwing first pitch strikes and working ahead, he was just very very efficient."

Andrew McCutchen helped provide all the offense, knocking in a pair of runs and also scoring once.

Jason Grilli allowed the first two batters to reach in the ninth, but set the next three down in order to preserve the shutout and notch his 24th save of the season.

Yasiel Puig had two of the Dodgers' six hits as they dropped their fifth contest in six games. Stephen Fife (1-2) surrendered two runs on six hits and three walks over five innings in defeat.

"I put myself in some bad spots," said Fife. "That's just the way baseball goes, they call it a game of inches for a reason."

The Dodgers had won 18 of their last 22 games with the Pirates coming in, but couldn't break through off Locke. Los Angeles had a single in each of the first two innings, but couldn't get a threat going again until he departed.

Fife was able to escape a bases loaded jam in the third, but not before McCutchen tagged him for two runs on a double down the first base line.

The Pirates' first three batters reached base in the frame and the hosts had a chance to produce more damage, but McCutchen got thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice and Clint Barmes later flew out to leave the bags full.

Mark Melancon relieved Locke to start the eighth and put himself into trouble after giving up a two-out double to Jerry Hairston. His hit put runners at second and third, but Melancon struck out Juan Uribe to end the inning.

Pittsburgh tacked on some insurance in the home eighth, with McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez leading off the frame with singles to put runners at the corners.

Neil Walker then a lofted a shallow fly ball into right and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez chased it down, but with his back to home plate, McCutchen was able to scurry home easily for to push Pittsburgh's lead to 3-0.

Puig singled to start the ninth and Nick Punto reached on a well executed bunt down the third base line. Grilli, though, buckled down and struck out Gonzalez, got Hanley Ramirez to foul out and fanned Mark Ellis to end the game.

Game Notes

The Pirates posted their 11th shutout of the season ... Pittsburgh has won 14 of its last 18 home games ... Ramirez made his first start since June 5, he went 0-for-4 ... The Dodgers activated catcher A.J. Ellis from the disabled list prior to the start of the game. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts ... Major League Baseball handed down suspensions to several Dodgers for their roles in a brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. Pitcher J.P. Howell, infielder/outfielder Skip Schumaker and hitting coach Mark McGwire were slapped with two-game suspensions, while pitcher Ronald Belisario and manager Don Mattingly were each given one-game suspensions. Mattingly served his on Friday and McGwire will complete his suspension on Saturday after beginning his on Friday as well.