The first incident was unprecedented. The second was unfathomable.
Utility player Tucupita Marcano hit a two-run home run from Julio Urías’ misplaced four-seam fastball in the second inning at Dodger Stadium Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an early four-run lead.
Just like he did against Walker Buehler on Monday night. Second inning. Poorly placed four-seam fastball. That three-run home run gave Pittsburgh an early lead.
The home runs were the first of Marcano’s big league career.
And both resulted in frustrating Dodgers losses, this time 5-3. Marcano’s home run followed a two-run shot by Michael Chavis in the first inning, and the Pirates capped the goal with a run in the ninth.
“We didn’t know what to expect [Marcano]’ said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Clearly he’s on the fastball.”
The cheeky Pirates, whose $60 million payroll is just 28% of the Dodgers’ $263.5 million, frustrated Buehler and Urías so much that they both threw their gloves.
Buehler threw his on the racket in the Dodgers’ dugout after Marcano’s triple home run Monday, and Urìas threw his in the air on the field after Tyler Heineman, a slow pirate scavenger and UCLA product, bunked for a single to break the fourth inning to start Tuesday.
The early Bucs bangs dampened what began as a celebratory evening for the 52,686 sold-out Dodger Stadium crowd as Urìa’s bobbleheads were distributed and high-profile mariachi band Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéller, featuring singer Lupita Infante, played on the video screen between innings.
The Dodgers only collected four hits against starter Mitch Keller and four assists. Trea Turner — whose hitting streak is now 23 games and who has hit in 87 of his 100 games as a dodger — blasted a two-run home run in the third inning, but that was the only damage against Keller, who came in with a 1-5 record and 6.05 ERA.
The Dodgers quickly got runners up in first and third against reliever Tyler Beede in the sixth, and Justin Turner hit with a strike-three passball that cut the deficit to 4-3, but with two outs, Mookie Betts emerged.
Betts ended a historic May of 12 home runs and 10 doubles — the 22 extra base hits is a Dodgers record — with a whimper. Betts hit 31 runs and drove 27 over the month and hit .426 over the past two weeks, but on Tuesday he went 0 for 4.
Roberts said Betts is playing even better than he did when he led the Dodgers to their 2020 World Series title.
“When a guy swings the racquet the way he does, every borderline call goes his way, every soft contact goes his way, but then he’s also catching a lot of balls,” Roberts said.
Except that Betts and the rest of the Dodgers didn’t hit as well as the unheralded Marcano and the rest of the Pirates for the second night in a row.
Round birthday for Doc
Roberts turned 50 on Tuesday, and the crowd chanted “Happy Birthday” to him just minutes before the game. He planned to celebrate afterwards with his wife Tricia, son Cole and daughter Emme, who were all in attendance.
“I have a child [Cole] in college and a kid [Emme] Going to college and having everyone here is special,” he said. “Days like this with everyone are numbered. They won’t appear often in the future.
“I have a lot to be thankful for and I think my best years are still ahead of me.”
He’s already had some excellent years. Roberts boasts the highest win ratio of any manager in major league history at .625. His detractors are quick to point out the Dodgers’ superior talent since he took the helm in 2015.
That much is undeniable. But the same is true for any manager with a win ratio well above 0.500. Joe McCarthy is second to Roberts with a .615 and he captained the New York Yankees from 1931 to 1946.
The numbers suggest a major league manager is only as good as his squad. Look no further than Hall of Famer Joe Torre’s career for proof. His teams hit records in five of his first 14 seasons with the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and St. Louis Cardinals. Only his 1982 Braves made the playoffs, and they were swept in the first round.
Torre was named manager of the over-talented Yankees in 1996 and immediately possessed a winning touch. The Yankees won four World Series in their first five seasons and at least 92 games each season, but one of their 12 with the team. Torre ended his career with three seasons managing the Dodgers but didn’t take them to the World Series.
Roberts, of course, has taken a plum position with the Dodgers, winning five division titles, three National League pennants and the 2020 World Series title. He’s well on his way to the Hall of Fame if he stays with the Dodgers and they continue to fill their roster with talent.
Cody Bellinger missed his second straight game with a torn abductor tendon. Roberts said he expects Bellinger to play on Wednesday. … Starters Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney are scheduled to begin rehabilitation duties this weekend. Heaney will make two or three starts at Triple-A in Oklahoma City before returning to the Dodgers. Kershaw may only need a rehab start before activating. … Max Muncy is on the injured list mainly to give the collapsing infielder a break and a reset. He took ground balls before games. “We’re really happy to let him go as far as he feels,” said Roberts. “The longer he doesn’t play with us, the more he is of course an option a [minor league rehab assignment] before he comes back.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-05-31/dodgers-pirates-julio-urias-tucupita-marcano-dave-roberts-birthday Pirates beat Julio Urías, Dodgers with the long ball again