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Clayton Kershaw plays stopper, Dodgers salvage a game in Cincinnati

4-game losing streak snapped

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Dodgers needed some stability after blowing big leads in the first two games in Cincinnati. The offense did its job for the third time in a row, and Clayton Kershaw played the familiar role of stopper in a 6-0 win over the Reds.

The win snapped the Dodgers’ season-high four-game losing streak. They are 6-1 after a loss in games started by Kershaw.

Kershaw pitched seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, the third time this season he’s done both in one start. The length was sorely needed by a Dodgers team that saw its bullpen pitch in parts of 10 innings on Tuesday and Wednesday (take two guesses as to why it was only parts of innings).

Kershaw has pitched seven innings in two consecutive starts, and his five starts at least that long this season are two more than the rest of the Dodgers staff combined.

His 30.3-percent strikeout rate is his highest since 2015, and ranks fourth in the majors this season. Kershaw’s final strikeout of the day — getting centerfielder Jose Barrero swinging in the seventh — was the 2,900th of his career.

After putting up crooked numbers in the first inning in each of the first two games at Great American Ball Park, the Dodgers offense was a bit delayed in the series finale. But they put up three runs in both the third and fourth innings.

David Peralta had a season-high four hits, including driving in the first two runs on a single in the third. Thursday was the 16th game with at least four hits in Peralta’s career, and his first since 2021.

Freddie Freeman reached base four times, with two singles and two walks, driving in two.

Austin Barnes hit his two hardest-hit balls of the season, a 105.5-mph groundout off Reds starter Graham Ashcraft in the third inning followed by a 105.3-mph double into the left field corner one inning later to bring home the Dodgers’ fifth run.

Barnes also got hit by a 94.6-mph fastball on his right hand in the ninth inning, and after conferring with trainer Yosuke Nakajima and manager Dave Roberts was removed from the game between innings. Will Smith caught the bottom of the ninth.

Postgame X-rays on Barnes’ hand were negative.

Chris Taylor got the start at shortstop after Miguel Rojas left Wednesday’s game with neck tightness, then snapped an 0-for-11 skid with a home run off Fernando Cruz in the fourth inning, Taylor’s first home run off a right-handed pitcher since April 25, and part of a two-hit Thursday.

Those six runs were more than enough on this day for the Dodgers, though they did continue a trend. All 20 runs scored during this series against the Reds were scored in the first four innings.

Thursday particulars

Home run: Chris Taylor (10)

WP — Clayton Kershaw (8-4): 7 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts

LP — Graham Ashcraft (3-5): 2⅔ IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Up next

The Dodgers move on to Philadelphia for three games over the weekend. Michael Grove starts Friday night (4:05 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with left-hander Ranger Suárez on the mound for the Phillies.