Dodgers spoil Bucs’ home opener

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PITTSBURGH – The Dodgers didn’t need Jim Tracy to do what they nearly always do in Pittsburgh. That’s win, and win big.

Jason Repko homered and tripled to drive in four runs in the first two innings and the Dodgers roughed up their former manager’s new team, beating the Pirates 8-3 in Pittsburgh’s home opener.

Odalis Perez (1-0) limited the already slumping Pirates to one run and five hits over 5 1-3 innings after giving up seven runs and nine hits in three innings in his first start. But, as usual, all the Dodgers needed to start hitting and pitching was seeing the Pirates in the other dugout.

Tracy was allowed to leave by the Dodgers following a 91-loss season a year ago that was one of their worst since relocating from Brooklyn in 1958. He became the first former Dodgers manager to oppose the club since Chuck Dressen took over the Braves in 1960.

Tracy’s Dodgers were 427-383 in five seasons, including 20-7 against the Pirates. The Dodgers are 16-3 in Pittsburgh since 2001 and have won nine of 10 and 19 of 22 overall against the Pirates.

So, naturally, Tracy was hearing the first boos of his new managerial regime even before his team – off to a 1-7 start – had batted for the first time in PNC Park.

Actor Michael Keaton requested a mulligan and got it after throwing the ceremonial first pitch into the dirt, and responded by throwing a pitch down the middle. Pirates left-hander Zach Duke (0-1) probably wished he could do the same after walking Rafael Furcal ahead of Repko’s first homer, a drive into the left-field seats on an 0-2 pitch. Cody Ross followed later in the first with a run-scoring double.

Duke, fifth in the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year voting after going 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA in half a season, fought with his control all afternoon as the Dodgers opened a 7-0 lead by the fifth. Throwing only 48 of 94 pitches for strikes, Duke constantly got the ball up in the strike zone.

Duke got into trouble again in the second by walking Perez on five pitches, and Furcal doubled ahead of Repko’s two-run triple that made it 5-0. Olmedo Saenz added a two-run homer in the fifth during a three-hit day and is 9-of-14 with three homers and 11 RBIs in four games in Pittsburgh over the last two seasons.

Perez allowed six runners over the first three innings but wasn’t lifted until Franquelis Osoria came on to get Jose Castillo and Humberto Cota in succession with runners on second and third and a run in during the sixth. Takashi Saito also got the Dodgers out of a jam in the seventh, getting Castillo to ground into an inning-ending force play with the bases loaded and two runs in.

The sellout crowd of 39,129 on a sunny afternoon with temperatures in the mid 60s was the second-largest since PNC Park opened in 2001, topped only by the 39,392 who turned out on Aug. 11, 2002.

Notes: The Pirates’ Jason Bay brought a .375 average into the game only to go 1-for-5 and strand seven runners. … Since 1900, the only other former Dodgers managers to oppose the club were Leo Durocher, Casey Stengel and Ned Hanlon. … SS Jack Wilson stole second base in the first, the Pirates’ first stolen base in eight games. … The Pirates were 3-5 after eight games last season before finishing with 95 losses. … Pittsburgh is 1-5 against left-handed starters. … The Dodgers haven’t lost a series to Pittsburgh since 1998.

AP-ES-04-10-06 1637EDT

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