The Dodgers saw their first baseman and right fielder leave early with injuries, they tied a franchise record for hitting into double plays and had their excellent closer unavailable after working the previous two nights. With limited margin for error, the club had to try and get the final six outs from the two most reviled relief pitchers on the staff, and even used Juan Nicasio as a pinch runner.
But after Zack Greinke did the heavy lifting, and with no position players left on the bench, the Dodgers found a way to escape Cincinnati. Greinke continued his dream season, pitching seven scoreless innings to lead the Dodgers over the Reds 1-0 on Thursday afternoon, completing a three-game sweep at Great American Ball Park.
The Dodgers completed their first three-game sweep in Cincinnati since June 17-19, 2008.
Greinke was mostly efficient throughout the day, allowing four hits and two walks in his seven scoreless innings while striking out nine. It was the 18th time in 26 starts this season that Greinke has allowed zero or one run.
He ran into trouble in the fifth inning, needing 31 pitches to work around a leadoff walk to Jay Bruce, a stolen base, and a one-out single by Tucker Barnhart. But Greinke struck out three in the inning, including pitcher Anthony DeSclafani and Skip Schumaker to end the threat.
Greinke threw 109 pitches in his third straight start of seven innings, lowering his ERA to 1.61, tops in the majors.
It was the 10th scoreless start of the season by Greinke, tied for the second-most in a season by a Dodgers pitcher since 1914, trailing only the 13 such starts by Sandy Koufax in 1963.
It was another case of a bad luck matchup for DeSclafani, who lost 2-1 to Greinke at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 16. On Thursday, DeSclafani struck out six in seven strong innings, allowing just one run. That makes three runs allowed in 13 innings with 12 strikeouts and three walks in the last 12 days against the Dodgers.
And two losses.
The a Chris Hatcher redemption tour continued with a scoreless eighth inning, pitching around an unintentional intentional walk to Joey Votto.
With Kenley Jansen unavailable after pitching the previous two nights, Jim Johnson then got all three batters he faced iin the ninth for his 10th save, sending the Dodgers home on a three-game winning streak.
Gonzalez exits early
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez left the game early with a right knee contusion after fouling a ball off his right knee two innings earlier. Gonzalez struck out during the at-bat and was 0-for-2 on the day, then stayed in the game on defense for both the third and fourth innings before Scott Van Slyke replaced him at first base in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers say Gonzalez is day-to-day, and manager Don Mattingly said after the game that Gonzalez was removed as a precaution.
Adrian Gonzalez said he will “100 percent” play tomorrow against the Cubs.— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) August 27, 2015
Gonzalez has played in 123 of 126 games this season, starting 118 times. He leads the Dodgers in games, starts, and plate appearances (510) in 2015.
Streaking Puig hurt
Yasiel Puig's second-inning single not only loaded the bases, but also extended his hitting streak to 10 games, his longest of the season. Puig is hitting .342/.390/.526 during the streak, which dates back to Aug. 13.
It is the fifth double-digit hitting streak by a Dodger this season, joining Juan Uribe (13 games), Adrian Gonzalez (two 11-game streaks) and Scott Van Slyke (10 games).
But Puig also left early, coming out in the ninth inning after beating out an infield single, aggravating his right hamstring.
Puig's career-best hitting streak is 16 games, set from Apr. 30 to May 17, 2014.
Puig said his hamstring feels worse than it did in Oakland.— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) August 27, 2015
Puig sat for two games and three days last week after feeling tightness in his right hamstring.
Ethier heating up
With two lefties on the mound in the first two games of the series, Andre Ether didn't start. But he showed no rust on Thursday, going 3-for-3, his sixth multi-hit game in 13 starts in August. He's hitting .382/.424/.600 this month with seven extra-base hits in 59 plate appearances.
Double your displeasure
It was a rough day back at the office for catcher Yasmani Grandal, playing for the first time in five days. He grounded into double plays in his first three times to the plate, the fourth Dodger ever with three GIDPs in a game, and the first since Milton Bradley in 2004.
Justin Turner and Van Slyke also grounded into double plays, giving the Dodgers five as a team, which also tied a franchise record.
The other five-GIDP games by the Dodgers came on May 24, 1973 vs. the Mets, Sept. 24, 2004 at San Francisco, and Sept. 8, 2009 at Arizona.
Joc Pederson was back in the starting lineup against a right-handed pitcher on Thursday and was 0-for-3 with a walk. His free pass in the eighth inning with his 80th of the season, making Pederson the fourth Dodgers rookie to walk 80 times in a season.
The Dodgers rookies who walked more than Pederson are Jim Gilliam (100 in 1953), Billy Grabarkewitz (95 in 1970) and Greg Brock (83 in 1983).
The Dodgers return home to begin a three-game weekend series against the red-hot Cubs on Friday night at Dodger Stadium, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound in the opener. Jason Hammel starts for the Cubs.
Home runs: none
WP -Zack Greinke (14-3): 7 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
LP - Anthony DeSclafani (7-10): 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Jim Johnson (10): 3 up, 3 down