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Alfredo Simon shuts down Dodgers, forces series split

Joe Robbins

The Dodgers were neutered by a Reds pitcher for a second straight day. Alfredo Simon did the dominating on Thursday morning, giving the Reds a 4-1 victory over Los Angeles to even the series on getaway day in Cincinnati.

With defeats on Wednesday and Thursday, the Dodgers have lost back-to-back road games for just the third time all year.

The Dodgers got off to a quick start with three singles against Simon in the first inning, culminating in a quick 1-0 lead.

But that lead was gone as quickly as it appeared, as the first three batters reached against Zack Greinke. a Skip Schumaker singled to lead off the first, then Todd Frazier somehow back-spun a fly ball over the fence in right field for a 2-1 lead. Joey Votto then doubled, and Greinke was in trouble.

Greinke was able to recover from his shaky first to retire 17 of his next 19 batters, and was only at 72 pitches through six innings but had to be pinch hit for because the Dodgers couldn't do anything against Simon.

The Dodgers put the leadoff runner on against Simon in the sixth but didn't score. Singles by Kemp and Andre Ethier in the seventh put runners on the corners with nobody out, but Tim Federowicz weekly flew out, Miguel Rojas grounded into a fielder's choice with Kemp out running on the contact play, then Scott Van Slyke struck out swinging to end the inning.

Justin Turner singled with one out in the eighth inning then was out on a force play at second that saw Brandon Phillips never touch second base. That brought Don Mattingly out to argue, but since the neighborhood play is not reviewable by instant replay his argument was about as fruitful as the Dodgers offense on Thursday.

Brandon League pitched the eighth inning, showing his teammates what a real rally looked like, allowing two runs on three hits, including two doubles, and a walk, padding Cincinnati's lead.

Down three, the Dodgers did manage to bring the tying run to the plate against Aroldis Chapman with one out in the ninth. Though manager Don Mattingly said before the game that Hanley Ramirez and his injured A-C joint would likely be available to pinch hit, Ramirez remained on the bench as both Rojas and Jamie Romak struck out to end the game.

Up next

The Dodgers return home for a six-game homestand, beginning with three games over the weekend against the Diamondbacks. a Clayton Kershaw starts the opener on Friday night for the Dodgers, facing Chase Anderson for Arizona.

Thursday particulars

Home run: Todd Frazier (14)

WP - Alfredo Simon (9-3): 8 IP, 7 hits, 1 run, 5 strikeouts

LP - Zack Greinke (8-3): 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Sv - Aroldis Chapman (10): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts