The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped out to a comfortable lead over the Cincinnati Reds, which their bullpen uncharacteristically nearly squandered. Los Angeles hung on for an 8-7 victory to complete a season sweep of Cincinnati.
It was the Dodgers’ first season sweep since doing so against the Reds in 2006, also winning six head-to-head meetings that year.
The Dodgers seemingly needed an inning to adjust to Bronson Arroyo, who allowed a two-out single to Justin Turner but otherwise struck out the side in the opening frame. A two-out rally in the second led to three runs.
Austin Barnes singled off Arroyo in the second inning, which was followed by a Kiké Hernandez double. Kenta Maeda helped his cause by ripping a two-run double down the left-field line. Joc Pederson then laced an RBI single to left-center field.
Two batters after Cody Bellinger doubled in the third, Logan Forsythe crushed a two-run home run to the upper deck in left field. Arroyo’s outing came to an end after five runs allowed on seven hits in just three innings.
Billy Hamilton’s leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth broke up Maeda’s perfect game. That led to some trouble as the Reds proceeded to load the bases with one out. Maeda hit Scott Schebler with a pitch to bring a run in before he could get out of the inning.
Maeda was aided by Yasiel Puig, who made a diving catch and quickly popped to his feet and fired a strike to home plate to prevent Joey Votto from tagging.
Maeda allowed just the one run on three hits, issued one walk, had five strikeouts and hit a batter over five innings. The right-hander threw 78 pitches in his first start since June 4.
Turner, who had already extended his hitting streak to 13 games, crushed a three-run home run to the second deck in the sixth inning. The Reds got one run back on Adam Duvall’s solo home run off Grant Dayton in the bottom of the sixth.
That marked the start of the Dodgers’ bullpen nearly collapsing. Josh Fields’ continued struggles this month surfaced again in the seventh, as he surrendered a three-run homer to Scooter Gennett.
Pedro Baez didn’t fare much better, allowing a solo home run to Eugenio Suarez in the bottom of the eighth. Hamilton’s RBI double trimmed the Dodgers’ lead to 8-7. Votto drove a fly ball to deep left field that Hernandez made an over-the-shoulder catch on right as he crashed into the fence.
Preserving the lead allowed for Kenley Jansen to enter in the ninth, and he converted a 15th save on the season. Jansen recorded his 50th strikeout this season without a walk.