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Jun 6, 2024 3:31 am

Nick Gonzales, Pirates shoot for sweep of Dodgers

Nick Gonzales, Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Nick Gonzales has made himself at home in the majors since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on May 10.

Fresh off his career-high-tying, four-RBI performance, Gonzales will look to lead the Pirates to a three-game series sweep of the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.

Gonzales slapped a two-run double to ignite a seven-run second inning in Pittsburgh’s 10-6 victory on Wednesday. He also had a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning and a run-scoring single in the seventh to boost his RBI total to 20 in 23 games.

“Just trying to do my job every day. Staying consistent,” Gonzales told SportsNet Pittsburgh of his approach. “My pregame work and everything out there, just make the game as easy as I can.”

Gonzales joined teammates Edward Olivares and Ke’Bryan Hayes with two hits apiece, and Bryan Reynolds had a two-run single on Wednesday. The offensive display powered the Pirates to a 10th win in their past 15 encounters against the Dodgers.

Los Angeles right-hander Walker Buehler (1-3, 4.32 ERA) will be tasked with keeping Pittsburgh in check when he takes the mound on Thursday.

Buehler, 29, dropped his second straight start on Friday after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings in a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Buehler was making his fifth start since returning from his second Tommy John surgery. That said, the two-time All-Star wasn’t willing to make any excuses.

“Physically, I’ve probably exceeded where I thought I was gonna be, but performance-wise, I feel like (expletive),” Buehler said. “I’m not anywhere close to where I want to be. You think with a layoff like that, you’re not gonna have the same expectations you always have, but when you start tallying these starts, it’s kind of put up or shut up time for me, at least mentally, and these last two obviously haven’t been good enough.”

Buehler is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh will counter with left-hander Bailey Falter (3-2, 3.22 ERA). He is 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his past four outings, a stretch that featured two no-decisions in which he gave up no runs.

Falter, 27, faced the Dodgers on one occasion in his career while pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies. He allowed one hit in three scoreless innings of relief in a no-decision on June 14, 2021.

Los Angeles slugger Shohei Ohtani belted a two-run homer off rookie Paul Skenes to highlight his two-hit performance on Wednesday. Rookie Andy Pages also went deep and Jason Heyward had three doubles for the Dodgers.

Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts wanted to see a more aggressive approach at the plate from his charges.

“I think you, at certain times, have to pick your spots to sell out to the fastball,” Roberts said. “You have to make them respect the fact that you can turn the fastball around. I’m not saying every time. But you’ve got to kind of put that thought in a pitcher’s head in certain situations.”

–Field Level Media

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