LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers were drubbed by the Reds 10-3 in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, with a frustratingly familiar pattern.
The Dodgers got a short start from somebody other than Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke - on Thursday it was Mat Latos who couldn't get through the fifth inning. Then the game that was at least superficially close in the middle innings soon got out of hand thanks to more merry-go-round against the Dodgers bullpen.
The good news for Latos was that after just one strikeout in 42 batters faced over his first two starts, he struck out seven of the 22 batters he faced on Thursday night.
Those other 15 batters though, they were trouble for the right-hander.
Seven of the 15 had hits, including four doubles, and one walked. Two of the three singles were by Billy Hamilton, who stole one base against Latos and advanced from first to third another time on an errant pickoff throw by the pitcher.
Hamilton had a career-high four hits on the night, including a home run in the eighth.
Latos wasn't helped much by his defense, including his own. Alberto Callaspo booted a ball in the first inning that didn't lead to anything, but then in the fourth dropped a clean throw by catcher A.J. Ellis that should have retired Todd Frazier on an attempted steal. Instead Frazier, who was dead to rights, got credit for a steal, then scored on a sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers could only manage single runs in the fourth and fifth innings against starter Keyvius Sampson, even though they threatened throughout his five innings.
One of those runs was a home run to left field in the fourth inning by Joc Pederson, his 22nd of the season and second since the All-Star break. It was hit to left field, just his third hit to left or left center field all season.
The Dodgers also threatened against Sampson with runners on the corners and one out in the third inning. Andre Ethier scorched a ball but right at shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who somehow fielded it cleanly, then stepped on second and threw to first for an amazing inning-ending double play.
Suarez reared his head again in the sixth inning, when Pedro Baez was brought in to relieve a bases loaded situation with one out and a 5-2 deficit. After bobbling a ground ball back to the box to miss a sure out at home, Baez served up a three-run home run to Suarez that put Cincinnati up 9-2.
Three of the four runs scored in the sixth inning were charged to Luis Avilan, who took his turn going through the "newly-acquired Dodgers pitcher allows runs" hazing ritual.
On a positive note, Justin Turner entered the game on a double switch in the fifth inning, and in his first at-bat since July 26 hit a ball off the short wall in right field for a single.
Oh, and Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
Home runs: Joc Pederson (22); Eugenio Suarez (7), Billy Hamilton (4)
WP - Keyvius Sampson (2-1): 5 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Mat Latos (4-9): 4⅔ IP, 7 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 1 walk, 7 strikeouts