PITTSBURGH -- Caleb Ferguson's big league debut took a quick and wrong turn, and the bullpen didn't help much in the Dodgers' 11-9 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday night at PNC Park.
Matt Kemp, the reigning National League Player of the Week, continued his onslaught for the Dodgers with two doubles and a three-run homer, good for five RBIs. Despite that, and several rallies, Los Angeles lost its first road game after eight straight victories.
"Overall tonight, we didn't pitch well," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "There's only so much an offense can do."
Said Kemp: "I don't think we're ever out of games, especially the way our offense has been swinging the bat. It was a tough day today. They scored a lot of runs. We tried to make it into a good game, we did. We came up short, but [Thursday] we've got a chance to win the series."
With his third pitch, Ferguson, a 21-year-old left-hander called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit leadoff man Josh Harrison. Austin Meadows singled off second baseman John Forsythe's glove. Forsythe retrieved the ball and threw out Harrison at third.
Ferguson escaped that inning with his first career strikeout.
He wasn't as lucky in the second. The Pirates scored four runs -- three on Harrison's bases-loaded double -- as Ferguson labored through 57 pitches in 1 2/3 innings. He walked three, hit two batters and gave up two hits.
Ferguson grew up in West Jefferson, Ohio, about a three-hour drive to the ballpark. Present were his parents, other family members and friends.
"Not how I planned for it to go," Ferguson said. "At this level, guys are going to hit mistakes."
"I thought his stuff was good," Roberts said. "Obviously, adrenaline, emotions, stress, a lot of things going on. I thought the stuff played and the walks, a couple of hit batsmen and the ball middle-middle to Harrison proved to be the difference. … I know he was disappointed, but I thought he handled himself really well."
Trailing, 4-0, the Dodgers tied the game in the third against Pirates starter Trevor Williams on Kemp's two-run double and Cody Bellinger's 10th home run of the season, his second in two games.
The Pirates came back with two in the bottom of the inning off Daniel Hudson (1-2), aided by first baseman Player Page for Max Muncy's throwing error.
With Brock Stewart pitching for the Dodgers in the fourth, Pittsburgh added two runs to make it 8-4, before Kemp matched Bellinger in the fifth with his 10th homer. That came with two aboard, off Steven Brault, and made it a one-run game.
The Dodgers had one more chance in the ninth when Chris Taylor and Justin Turner walked. Kemp came up with one out, facing closer Felipe Vazquez, and lined out to second. It was up to Bellinger. He grounded out to second to end the game.
CINGRANI EXITS WITH SHOULDER PAIN
Dodgers left-hander Tony Cingrani issued a four-pitch walk in the eighth inning and left the game, complaining of shoulder pain. Roberts did not sound optimistic.
"After he made his first throw, I saw 89 or 90 [mph] and it was a little concerning," Roberts said. "It just didn't look right. He said he felt something on his first throw behind his shoulder. We're going to evaluate and we'll know more, if it's a DL situation."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Just as he led off the first, Ferguson plunked Corey Dickerson to start the bottom of the second. After striking out David Freese, he walked Colin Moran and Sean Rodriguez. Williams struck out, but Harrison lined a 3-0 fastball down the left-field line for a double, clearing the bases. Meadows walked and Ferguson came out. Starling Marte greeted reliever Hudson with an RBI single, and the Dodgers were down, 4-0.
"I threw way too many pitches  for one inning," Ferguson said.
HE SAID IT
"Right now, even tonight, taking a walk when he had an opportunity to swing the bat, he's doing a lot of things that I think he hasn't done. He's never been a high on-base guy. ... His ability to take the walk, hit to all fields, this is as good a run as I've seen." -- Roberts, on the red-hot Kemp
The Dodgers send another rookie out for his first big league start Thursday (9:35 a.m. PT) to face the Pirates in the series finale at PNC Park. This time it's right-hander Dennis Santana, who earned a win in relief Friday at Colorado. It wasn't a good outing, though, allowing five runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He will face Pirates righty Jameson Taillon.