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LAD@PIT: Davis hits second solo homer of the inning

Last weekend, Ike Davis -- limited to pinch-hit duties due to a gauntlet of left-handed pitching opponents -- clung to the notion that he's "always been a second-half hitter."

He was taking the glass half-full approach to a rough start with his new team.

Davis entered the Pirates' 12-7 win Tuesday hitting .235 with Pittsburgh, which would be acceptable if the Pirates first baseman countered that figure with power.

He hasn't.

Before Tuesday, Davis' slugging percentage sat at .338 since he joined the Bucs via trade on April 18.

However, he took the first step in proving his weekend assertion with a 3-for-5 night Tuesday, including a home run in his first start of the second half.

Davis, who will likely earn his second straight start Wednesday against Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren, slugged his sixth homer of the season against Josh Beckett as the Pirates evened the series heading into the rubber game.

The numbers back Davis' statement. In 2013, he maligned himself with the Mets faithful, producing a .205/.326/.334 slash line. But it would have been much worse if not for a .286/.449/.505 second half. Twenty of his 32 home runs in 2012 came in the second half, and he improved his OPS from .659 in the first half to .888 in the second act.

"There are players who are more cognizant of numbers than others," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "That can give you a feeling of confidence, knowing, 'I've been in this position before and have been able to pull myself through it. I have experience doing it, I can pull it off again.'"

Haren takes the mound against Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano in search of reversing a dreadful streak he's endured.

The Dodgers starter elevated his ERA from 3.16 on May 24 to its current 4.30 mark in the last two months.

Haren's allowed at least three earned runs in eight of his last 10 starts, and his last three July outings have been particularly rough.

He's coming off his third straight loss, a 3-2 defeat against the Cardinals on Friday. Haren gave up three runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Before that, he took losses on July 11 against the Padres (four innings, four runs) and on July 5 at Colorado (5 1/3 innings, eight runs).

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pointed out that the team does not expect Haren, the fifth starter, to pitch like an ace.

"I think Dan's been fine," Mattingly said. "Look at his body of work as a fifth starter, it's been pretty good. You're looking at Zack [Greinke], at Clayton [Kershaw], at Hyun-Jin [Ryu], the way Josh has gone, it's not normal. Then it looks like he's not doing the job. What we're asking him is to pitch innings and keep us in the ballgame, and I think he's done that."

Dodgers: Bullpen implodes in loss
An impregnable Los Angeles bullpen of late faltered on Tuesday.

The unit was unable to pick up Beckett in an unusually short outing for the Dodgers starter. Paul Maholm and Jamey Wright each surrendered a pair of runs after Beckett exited in the fourth. Maholm took the loss, and Chris Perez added to the damage, allowing four walks and four runs in the eighth.

Los Angeles' bullpen had gone the last 16 innings (dating back to July 12) without allowing a run. They let in eight runs Tuesday.

Pirates: Liriano looks to repeat
Liriano's first half was inauspicious to say the least, but Pittsburgh's starter showed signs of life in his latest start, which he looks to carry over into Wednesday.

Liriano allowed one unearned run in five innings and struck out eight Rockies last Friday in the Pirates' 4-2 win.

He lasted only a combined seven innings in his previous two starts.

Lirano used a 3.02 ERA to finish ninth in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2013. This year, he's 1-7 with a 4.43 ERA.

His pitch efficiency and inability to work late into games has been the main culprit this season. Of his last 11 starts, nine didn't last more than five innings.

Worth noting
• Gregory Polanco starred offensively for the Pirates, roping a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single Tuesday. He entered the game with just three hits in his previous 38 plate appearances.

• Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis collected a two-run single Tuesday, his first multi-RBI game of the season. Comments