The Los Angeles Dodgers were slow to get going and needed some assistance from the Cincinnati Reds playing sloppy defense to come away with a 5-1 win to set the stage for a rubber match at Great American Ball Park on Sunday.
Sonny Gray retired the first 11 batters faced before Trea Turner reached on grounder to third base that was ruled a hit. Mike Moustakas’ throw to first base beat Turner but was low and Joey Votto couldn’t make a clean catch.
Nothing came of Turner reaching, but it marked the start of a rough afternoon for Moustakas. After a Justin Turner leadoff double in the fifth inning, Moustaks was unable to cleanly field a hard-hit grounder off Chris Taylor’s bat and he compounded that by throwing wide of first base.
Gavin Lux took advantage of the throwing error by delivering a two-run triple that broke up the scoreless tie. The extra-base hit was more of the same for Lux, who has hit well since getting recalled and didn’t appear to be feeling any lingering effects from taking a pitch off his right forearm before Friday’s game.
Then with runners at the corners and one out in the sixth inning, Taylor’s safety squeeze scored Trea Turner to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0. Mookie Betts provided an RBI single in the ninth for a final bit of insurance.
By then it had been more than enough for Max Scherzer and the bullpen in a needed win. Scherzer wasn’t sharp but still held the Reds to just two hits and collected seven strikeouts over seven scoreless innings. He last allowed an earned run on Aug. 21.
After walking Joey Votto in the fourth inning, Scherzer retired the final 12 batters faced. He improved to 7-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 0.66 WHIP in nine starts for the Dodgers.
Dodgers postseason outlook
With their win, the Dodgers temporarily are 1.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.
The Giants face the Atlanta Braves at Oracle Park on Saturday night, with first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. PT.
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