Skenes, Chapman throw gas at Ohtani and the Dodgers as the Pirates hold on for 10-6 victory

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Paul Skenes delivers to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By WILL GRAVES AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Paul Skenes struck out eight over five innings, Aroldis Chapman threw the fastest pitch in the majors this season and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-6 on Wednesday night.

Skenes (3-0) allowed three runs on six hits, including a two-run shot by Ohtani in the third. The 22-year-old rookie also struck out the Los Angeles superstar with a 100 mph fastball in the first inning, one of 28 pitches thrown by Skenes and Chapman that reached triple digits.

“His stuff that first at-bat was really good,” Ohtani said of Skenes. “I couldn’t put together good swings, but overall just really good stuff.”

Skenes came out firing against the high-powered Dodgers. He struck out Mooie Betts and Ohtani to start the game, but Los Angeles eventually settled in and put steady pressure on the 6-foot-6 right-hander.

Ohtani took a 100 mph fastball and sent it into the Los Angeles bullpen beyond the center field wall for his 15th homer of the year in the third.

“I like to call that big on big because I obviously beat him a couple times earlier,” Skenes said. “I think that was the right pitch to throw there, he’s just a pretty darn good player. Stuff like that is going to happen.”

Skenes needed 91 pitches to navigate five innings even after being staked to the early lead. He showed a bit of growth in the fifth. Andy Pages homered and Los Angeles then loaded the bases with two outs. Skenes stayed in and he got Hernandez to ground out to third to end the threat and escape with a 7-3 lead.

“Good composure,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “He’s going to give up home runs, but when you have an error and you load the bases, and again, having to grind through this lineup, it’s not easy. There’s All-Stars throughout it. So very impressed with how composed he stayed.”

Skenes wasn’t the only one throwing serious heat at the Dodgers. Chapman, still throwing gas at 36, had five pitches of at least 103 mph during the seventh inning, including a 104 mph sinker to Teoscar Hernandez that Hernandez managed to foul off.

“You used to know everybody that threw 100,” Shelton said. “The game’s changed, man. These guys are power arms. They’re going at it. I think you saw a really good display of power arms today.”

Nick Gonzales tied a career high with four RBIs for the Pirates. Edward Olivares and Ke’Bryan Hayes had two hits and drove in a run for Pittsburgh, which used a big second inning against James Paxton (5-1) to take control before holding on late.

Ohtani finished with two hits and Jason Heyward doubled three times, but Los Angeles lost for 10th time in its last 15 games against Pittsburgh.

Paxton failed to get out of the second inning in his shortest start of the season. The Pirates touched him for seven runs (six earned) in the frame, highlighted by two-run singles by Gonzales and Bryan Reynolds. Paxton lasted just 1 2/3 innings, while his ERA mushroomed from 3.29 to 4.19.

The teams traded runs in the late innings. Los Angeles’ last best shot came in the eighth when Ohtani stepped to the plate to face Colin Holderman with two on and two out. Ohtani flew out to the warning track in right to end the inning.


Dodgers: Three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (left shoulder) will throw a two-inning simulated game with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Kershaw threw 20 pitches in a simulated game last week at Dodgers Stadium. … RHP Kyle Hurt (right shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday.


The series finishes up Thursday night. Walker Buehler (1-3, 4.32 ERA) starts for the Dodgers against Pittsburgh’s Bailey Falter (3-2, 3.22).


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