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Pittsburgh Pirate's pitcher Jeff Karstens works against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Associated Press.

Andre Ethier homered twice and drove in four runs, Blake DeWitt had his first four-hit game in the majors and James Loney added a pair of run-scoring hits to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-3 on Sunday.

Hiroki Kuroda (3-1) allowed a run and five hits over eight innings, struck out three and walked one.

The two-time defending NL West champs have won three straight for the first time this season, following a five-game skid that included a 2-0 loss to the Pirates on Thursday.

Ethier, who led the club in home runs last year and set a Dodger Stadium record for left-handed batters with 22, was 8 for 16 with nine RBIs during the four-game series.

Jeff Karstens (0-1) gave up six runs and 11 hits over five innings in his second start of the season after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 1

Carlos Monasterios hit two batters with pitches in one inning, then escaped a bases-loaded jam. His early workload, however, prevented him from lasting long enough to earn a victory.

Monasterios came out of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen to make his first major league start Saturday night, throwing 73 pitches over four innings while allowing a run and three hits. Ramon Ortiz inherited a three-run lead and got credit for the win in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“It would have been fun to see him go a little bit longer, but you can’t push a guy who hasn’t had that big a pitch count,” catcher Russell Martin said.

“He definitely has good stuff, and he’s just starting to learn the slider. He picked it up in spring training, and that was my go-to off-speed pitch tonight. So that pitch is going to be really good for him. And if he can use that with his curveball and mix in his changeup, there’s no doubt he can start.”

Ortiz (1-1) yielded two leadoff singles over three scoreless innings and struck out five. The right-hander, who turns 37 this month, is pitching for his sixth big league team in the last seven seasons after winning a World Series ring with the Angels in 2002.

Ethier hit a three-run homer and scored on Loney’s double, leading the Dodgers’ offense against Zach Duke (2-3), who allowed four runs and nine hits over six innings.

Monasterios walked his first batter, Akinori Iwamura, who was caught stealing by Martin. One out later, Andrew McCutchen homered into the left-field pavilion. But a couple of well-timed visits to the mound by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt settled down Monasterios.

Dodgers 6, Pirates 2

Taking advantage of other teams’ mistakes was one of the hallmarks of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ back-to-back NL West championship seasons. So when the Pittsburgh Pirates committed two fielding errors in one inning, James Loney made them pay.

Loney hit his first home run of the season with two outs in the third, Ethier had a two-run shot in the first and the Dodgers got Chad Billingsley enough runs this time in a 6-2 victory Friday night.

“That’s what championship-type teams do Ñ take advantage of any kind of mistake and capitalize,” Loney said after the Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak that equaled their longest of last season. “Maybe now we can get people talking about something else now, hopefully. I guess everybody expects us to get the key hits every time. We expect to do it ourselves, but it doesn’t always happen.”

The Dodgers, shut out Thursday night for the third time in five games, increased their margin to 5-1 with three unearned runs after shortstop Bobby Crosby and first baseman Jeff Clement committed errors on grounders by Xavier Paul and Ethier.

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