The Dodgers once led 6-0 but that lead got trimmed to two runs because nothing is ever easy, and the Dodgers' bacon was saved for a second straight night with Luis Avilan striking out Jay Bruce with runners on base to end the eighth inning.
One night after striking out on a curveball with the bases loaded, the tying runs were on base for Bruce, who had no chance on a high fastball this time from Avilan, preserving the Dodgers' two-run lead into the ninth, where Kenley Jansen finished the job.
Staked to a three-run lead after an insurance run in the top of the ninth, Jansen did walk his first batter since Aug. 1 on Wednesday, and let two runners on base to bring the tying run to the plate, but he struck out Eugenio Suarez to end the game with the mighty Joey Votto on deck.
It took a little longer than on Aug. 15 at Dodger Stadium, but the result for the Dodgers offense was pretty much the same. The Dodgers had their way with Holmberg, rallying for a run in the second inning then exploding for three home runs and five runs in the fourth inning.
Holmberg has faced the Dodgers twice this season, and has allowed 13 runs on 12 hits and six walks, allowing six walks while recording only 17 outs, including just one by strikeout.
Scott Van Slyke took him deep first, a solo shot in the fourth. That followed a second-inning single for the left fielder, who was in an 0-for-15 slump entering Wednesday.
A.J. Ellis added a two-run shot later in the inning, continuing his offensive resurgence. It was the fourth home run in the last 12 starts for Ellis, who has started three straight games. Ellis has reached base by hit or walk in 19 of his last 20 games, and on the season is now hitting .224/.357/.379 on the season.
Yasiel Puig added a two-run shot, extending his hitting streak to nine games, the fourth home run for Puig in his last 15 starts.
That was more than enough for Brett Anderson, who cruised with a shutout into the seventh inning, and would have gotten through the inning scoreless had Chase Utley caught a soft pop in short right field. But the ball dropped, and a couple ground balls found holes, leading to three runs, slicing the Dodgers' 6-0 advantage in half and ending Anderson's night.
Zack Greinke will be on the mound for breakfast and baseball on getaway day Thursday, with a 9:35 a.m. PT start in the series finale. Anthony DeSclafani starts for the Reds, in a rematch of their Aug. 16 game at Dodger Stadium, won 2-1 by the Dodgers.
Home runs: Scott Van Slyke (5), A.J. Ellis (4), Yasiel Puig (11)
WP -(8-8): 6⅔ IP, 5 hits, 3 unearned runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - David Holmberg (1-4): 3⅔ IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv - Kenley Jansen (25): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts