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Dodgers bullpen collapses late in loss to Reds

3-run 9th off Caleb Ferguson completes Reds comeback

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers led throughout most Tuesday evening, in a matchup marked by the debut of top prospect Elly De La Cruz for the Reds. However, it was death by a thousand cuts as Cincinnati chipped away inning after inning, capping the comeback with a three-run ninth against Caleb Ferguson for a 9-8 win at Great American Ball Park.

A five-run fifth inning gave the Dodgers an 8-3. lead, and starter Tony Gonsolin left after his five innings with a four-run lead.

Yency Almonte allowed three singles with two outs in the sixth to knock another run off the lead. An inning later, the same story. Brusdar Graterol induced a sharp 3-6-1 double play, but allowed four hits and another run, reducing the Dodgers advantage to 8-6.

In the ninth inning, it all unraveled as Ferguson had zero command, and loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. Needing to throw strikes, Ferguson walked in the seventh Reds run, giving a free pass to Curt Casali, and then hit Jake Fraley with a pitch the to tie the game, ending the left-hander’s night.

In an impossible mission, Shleby Miller came in with the bags full, one out, and a tied game. Matt McClain walked it off with a big flyball that ended up falling in the warning track for a walk-off single, as the Dodgers defense had no play.

Dodgers’ offense scores in bunches, but ultimately falls short

Mookie Betts led off the game with a single, followed by a Freddie Freeman walk. With one out, Max Muncy drove in the first run of the night, on a double down the right field line, J.D. Martinez then did the professional hitter bit, with a sac fly to make it a 2-0 lead, and lastly, David Peralta got it to three with a single of his own.

After that, the bats remained quiet for a couple of frames, with Cincinnati quickly tying up the game, in the bottom of the first. However, the second half of the bulk scoring came in the fourth, when the visitors put up a five spot.

It all started with a J.D. Martinez home run, as the DH proves to be a shrewd signing, with the power bouncing back to his elite days.

Reds’ starter Luke Weaver, proceeded to allow three of the next four hitters to reach base, thus loading the bases for Freddie Freeman, which was enough for the Reds’ manager to make the call to the ‘pen, bringing in lefty Alex Young.

Young started the at-bat well, getting Freeman to chase on two breakers, but an 0-2 mistake was thoroughly punished, and just like that, the Dodgers had their league-leading seventh Grand Slam.

That would be it as far as scoring for the men in blue, as they failed to do any damage against the rest of the Reds bullpen. Granted, one should expect a victory every time it puts up eight runs.

Gonsolin guts through another serviceable, if unspectacular outing

Taking Coors Field out of the occasion, at Cincinnati is one of the more challenging places to pitch in all of baseball, and with the Reds surging with the best record in the Central over the last month, Gonsolin had his hands full tonight. Above all else, he kept the Dodgers in the game.

The Dodgers starter had a shot at a shutdown inning in the first, as the offense put up three in the top of the first, but in a typical slugfest affair, the Reds came right back with three of their own.

Fraley and McClain led off the game with back-to-back singles, a flyout, and a walk later, the bases were loaded, and on a Spencer Steer RBI hit by pitch, and Tyler Stephenson two-run single the game was tied.

With the danger of taxing the ‘pen early on the trip, Gonsolin bared down and tossed three scoreless, giving the offense enough time to retake the lead with a crooked number in the top of the fourth.

Gonsolin would allow one more run in the fifth, unearned, as an errant throw from the outfield allowed everyone on base to move up 90 feet, but overall, his line of five innings, and three earned, leaving in line for the win looks pretty good, given the early circumstances of this ball game.

De La Cruz gets the superstar treatment from the Dodgers

If you want to understand the quality of a hitter, just look at how he is pitched. Making his big league debut, Elly de la Cruz saw maybe one and a half hittable pitches all game long, as the Dodgers’ staff pitched around him in virtually every plate appearance.

Great things await this highly-touted prospect, who to his credit showed patience in his first game, earning two walks, a hit on a well-located high heater, and another hard-hit out.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: J.D. Martinez (15), Freddie Freeman (11)

WP — Eduardo Salazar (1-0): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts

LP — Caleb Ferguson (3-1): ⅓ IP, 1 hit, 3 runs, 3 walks

Up next

On the second game of this road trip Wednesday night (4:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), the Dodgers will send out veteran right-hander Noah Syndergaard against the Reds rookie left-hander Brandon Williamson. Jonny DeLuca is expected to make his major league debut.