PITTSBURGH - No matter what uniform he's wearing, Shane Victorino always gives the Pittsburgh Pirates trouble.
The newly acquired outfielder hit his first homer in Dodger blue and drove in three runs to lift Los Angeles to a 5-4 victory on Monday.
Picked up from the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline to give the Dodgers an experienced bat as they try to get reach the postseason, the only Maui-born All-Star in major league history was his usual pesky self at the top of the lineup as Los Angeles moved back into a tie with the San Francisco Giants atop the National League West and drew within 1-1/2 games of the Pirates in the race for one of an NL wild card.
The Dodgers’ Shane Victorino acknowledges a fan from the on-deck circle in the seventh inning of Los Angeles’ 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Victorino is met by Aaron Harang and Mark Ellis after homering in the fifth.
Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez fields a ground ball before throwing home for a forceout as Los Angeles’ Hanley Ramirez heads to third base during the eighth inning.
"He's been through it - playoff runs the last three or four years, World Series," said Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly. "They just get hardened, and this is not going to overwhelm him down the stretch."
Victorino never looks overwhelmed against the Pirates. He came in with a career .325 average against Pittsburgh, a number that rose after he hit an RBI double in the third inning, then drilled a two-run shot off Jeff Karstens in the fifth to put the Dodgers in front to stay.
"I just keep plugging along," Victorino said. "There's nothing different that I've done. You know when you've got confidence and you feel good at the plate, yeah, things kind of keep going that way."
Matt Kemp added two hits for the Dodgers while Aaron Harang (8-7) gave up two runs in six innings. Kenley Jansen worked a perfect ninth for his 24th save.
Los Angeles has won four of its last five games.
"I look at it like the NCAA tournament; you look at it like you can't lose," Mattingly said. "I think that's the way we want to play, is that we can't afford to lose any games, so that's just the way I look at it."
Los Angeles built leads of 2-0 and 5-2 before holding on.
"It was an all-around good performance," Victorino said. "We jumped out early, scored some runs, they came back and answered.
"But we answered back."
Garrett Jones had four hits, including a pair of doubles, and drove in all three of Pittsburgh's runs.
The Pirates have lost four of their last five.
"It'll always be a challenge coming back," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "But sometimes that's how the game is laid out for you and you've got to keep battling."
Karstens (4-3) allowed four runs in seven innings and lost for the first time since June 25.