The Dodgers had a furious rally in the ninth inning, but it wasn't enough, as Manny Ramirez struck out with the bases loaded to end the 4-2 Reds' win at Great American Ballpark.
One starting pitcher looked dominant tonight. It wasn't Chad Billingsley. Homer Bailey of the Reds shut down the Dodger offense all night, and the Reds took advantage of an ineffective Billingsley to build an early 4-0 lead.
Billingsley threw just nine pitches in a perfect first inning, but struggled just about every inning after that. He allowed four runs in five innings, including a solo home run to Johnny Gomes to leadoff the sixth inning. Tonight was the first time in two weeks a Dodger starter has allowed more than three runs in a game.
The Dodger offense never seemed in sync against Bailey, who threw eight scoreless innings, striking out seven Dodgers. Bailey's final pitch of the night was a 97-mph fastball to strike out Casey Blake to end a potential Dodger rally. The Dodgers put two runners on base in both the sixth and eighth innings, but couldn't cash in any runs either time. The Dodgers were hitless in nine at-bats (plus a walk) with runners in scoring position tonight.
James Loney led off the ninth inning with a solo home run off Nick "Bobbleslam" Masset to break the shutout, and after a rally the Dodgers added another run on a questionable Andre Ethier strikeout. Etiher swung and missed on a ball that hit him in the foot, and the ball got away from Corky Miller, allowing Ethier to reach base safely and Mark Loretta to score. MLB Rule 6.05(f) states:
A batter is out when he attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him
Also, under rule 6.08(b):
APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance
I'm not sure if runners can advance on that play legally, and I wonder if the Dodgers would have somehow gained the win if the Reds would have protested the game.
Game two of the series is on Fox tomorrow at 1pm, with Charlie "Mr. National TV" Haeger facing Matt Maloney, who was just recalled from Triple A for the start.
WP - Homer Bailey (4-4): 8 IP, 7 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Chad Billingsley (12-8): 5 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 1 strikeout