PITTSBURGH — Don Mattingly remains confident the Dodgers are going to put together a winning streak and pull out of their doldrums.
Los Angeles has been making its manager wait quite a while.
Rookie Gerrit Cole improved to 2-0 and Pedro Alvarez homered off Zack Greinke to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Dodgers 6-3 Sunday.
It was the Dodgers’ sixth loss and eight games and dropped them a season-worst 10 games under .500 at 29-39.
“It’s kind of been the same story,” Mattingly said. “We haven’t been able to win a series. We got a win (Saturday) then we’ve got Zack going and a chance to win the series and we weren’t able to get it done.”
Cole (2-0) allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks in 5 2-3 innings. The top pick from the 2011 draft won in his big league debut last week.
“I’m really happy to be able to come up here and pitch well enough to help the team win,” Cole said. “But I also know I need to do more. I’ve only gone 6 1-3 and 5 2-3 innings in my two starts. I need to get deeper than that. We’re getting the point in the season where the bullpen is going to start having aches and pains and I need to eat up more innings to help those guys out.”
Alvarez snapped a 2-all tie when he connected off Greinke (3-2) for a three-run homer in the fifth. Alvarez leads the Pirates with 15 homers.
His father Pedro was in the stands for Father’s Day. The elder Alvarez moved his family to New York from the Dominican Republic when his son was a 1-year-old, and dad made a living driving a livery cab.
Alvarez also hit a home run against the Mets in New York on Mother’s Day.
“It just makes it extra special,” he said.
Alex Presley had three hits, including a home run, and Garrett Jones added a two-run single for the Pirates, who won for the sixth time in their last nine games.
Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig got three hits and raised his average to .479 in his first 48 at-bats in the majors.
Mattingly said before the game that Puig is likely to stay in the majors even after star outfielders Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford recover from hamstring injuries that landed them on the disabled list.
Considering Andree Ethier is also in the first year of a six-year, $95.95-million contract, it would seemingly make for a crowded outfield, though Mattingly said, “I think there will be playing time for everybody.”
Greinke (3-2) was touched for five runs and eight hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out three while losing to Pittsburgh for just the second time in seven career decisions.
“His fastball command wasn’t great,” Mattingly said. “He wasn’t putting it where he wants and couldn’t get in good counts so he had to use more off-speed stuff and he left that curveball up to Alvarez.”
There were two outs and no one on in the fifth with the score tied at 2 when Jones singled and Neil Walker walked. Alvarez, who was 1 for 14 in his career against Greinke, then hit a drive into the shrubbery in dead center field.
“The main thing was some big situations came up and I made bad pitches in important situations,” Greinke said. “That’s what happened.”
After Jones gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead in the first, the Dodgers tied it. Puig led off the second with a single, stole second and scored on Tim Federowicz’s groundout. Ethier hit an RBI single in the fourth.
Los Angeles closed to 5-3 in the sixth when Ethier singled home Adrian Gonzalez, who had doubled.
The Pirates got the run back in the bottom half when Presley hit his second homer into the right-field stands off Matt Guerrier.
NOTES: Los Angeles 3B Juan Uribe was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of tightness in his back but was available to pinch-hit. ... The Dodgers are off Monday then open a two-game series Tuesday night against the Yankees in New York. It will be Mattingly’s first trip in uniform to the Bronx since the Yankees passed him over and hired Joe Girardi as manager following the 2007 season. ... Pittsburgh C Russell Martin was in the original starting lineup then removed because of lower body soreness. ... Pirates LF Starling Marte did not start for the fourth straight day because of a strained left oblique muscle but entered the game in the sixth inning as part of a double switch.
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