With Bronson Arroyo on the mound, the Dodgers had to like their chances at sweeping the Reds for a second consecutive weekend. But because baseball always has surprises in store, Arroyo struck out three batters in the first inning.
The Dodgers got to Arroyo very soon after though, plating three runs with four consecutive hits in the second inning, including a two-run double by pitcher Kenta Maeda. In the third inning, Logan Forsythe rocketed a ball into the second deck in left field to widen the lead at 5-0, helping to end Arroyo’s day after just three innings.
Justin Turner, who had a drive to the center field wall tracked down by Billy Hamilton in the third inning, launched a three-run home run in the sixth, widening the Dodgers’ lead to 8-1.
Turner had two hits and a walk, and is batting a sublime .385/.464/.521 on the season. He also owns a 13-game hitting streak. Turner had a 16-game hitting streak earlier in the season.
Maeda was aggressive around the plate on Sunday, throwing 54 of his 78 pitches for strikes, and allowed just one run on three hits in five innings, with five strikeouts and one walk.
One of the large differences between the Dodgers and Reds in their six meetings this season has been the performances from the starting pitchers.
Reds starters posted a 8.06 ERA against the Dodgers this season while averaging just 3.72 innings per start. They allowed eight home runs.
Dodgers starters had a 3.31 ERA against the Reds while averaging 5.44 innings per start. They allowed four home runs.
The 8-1 lead almost nearly completely evaporated as the Reds feasted off the Dodgers bullpen.
A solo home run by Adam Duvall in the sixth against Grant Dayton cut the lead to 8-2, then things got a little worrisome when four-homer man Scooter Gennett took Josh Fields out for a three-run shot in the seventh inning to make it 8-5.
Fields has allowed a home run in four of his last five outings, five home runs in all in 4 innings. During that span he has allowed seven runs to his own ledger — plus five inherited runs — watching his ERA balloon from 0.81 to 3.00.
Things got even more serious in the eighth inning when the Reds scored two against Pedro Baez to cut the lead to 8-7, and they threatened for even more. Cincinnati had two runners on base with two outs when Joey Votto launched a drive to the wall in left field that most likely would have given the Reds the lead had Kiké Hernandez not made a sprawling catch to save the day.
Hernandez also walked twice Sunday and had two doubles, giving him a whopping 17 doubles on the season, one off Corey Seager’s team lead.
Kenley Jansen was able to bring some normalcy to the ninth inning, closing things out for his 15th save of the season. He struck out two, giving him an absurd 50 strikeouts and no walks in 29⅔ innings in 2017.
Brock Stewart, who was recalled from Oklahoma City before the game, was still en route to Great American Ball Park during the game. But thanks to his aptly-named agent, Stewart made it in time to warm up in the bullpen in the seventh inning.
At airport picking up @Brock_A_Stewart Game is in 5th. Can this agent of the year candidate get him there in time to pitch 8th and 9th ⚾️— Joe Speed (@Joe_Speed7) June 18, 2017
Stewart did not pitch in the game.
The Dodgers return home for a nine-game homestand, beginning with four games against the Mets. On Monday, Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers in a 7:10 p.m. PT game, with Zack Wheeler on the mound for New York.
Home runs: Logan Forsythe (2), Justin Turner (3); Adam Duvall (16), Scooter Gennett (8), Eugenio Suarez (11)
WP - Kenta Maeda (5-3): 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
LP - Bronson Arroyo (3-6): 3 IP, 7 hits, 5 runs, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (15): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts