Remember those bloody – sometimes literally – battles between the Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers back in the 1970s?
Neither do a lot of other Reds fans. Those games have been replaced by Dodger dominance.
Yasiel Puig hit two home runs, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson also homered, Corey Seager reached base in all five of his plate appearances and Cincinnati’s offense left its clutch hitting in the clubhouse as the Reds suffered their seventh consecutive loss to the Dodgers and 16th in the last 18 games between the two teams, 10-2.
The Reds, who went into the game with second-fewest errors in the National League, committed two while extending their losing streak to a season-worst eight games and slipping a season-high nine games under .500. They went into the game 6 ½ games out of first place, their deepest hole of the season.
A crowd of 42,431 – Cincinnati’s second 2017 sellout and first since Opening Day – was on hand to help honor Reds Hall of Fame-member Pete Rose, whose statue on Crosley Terrace outside Great American Ball Park was unveiled before the game.
Joey Votto collected three hits – including two ground-rule doubles – and Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart each had two hits while the Reds were hitting three triples in a game for the first time since July 30, 2005, but the Reds went 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position while leaving four runners on third base and seeing two runners thrown out at the plate.
The Reds have scored a combined 10 runs in their last five games.
“The tide will turn,” manager Bryan Price said. “We’re too good of an offensive ballclub to think this will last too long.”
The Dodgers needed just six Asher Wojciechowski pitches to turn a 1-1 tie into a 6-1 lead with one out in the third inning. Ryu led off by reaching on Cozart’s error. Seager drew a one-out walk, and left fielder Chris Taylor snapped the tie with a line drive double that reached the left field wall on one hop.
Bellinger drilled Wojciechowski’s next pitch into the right field seats for a two-run home run and a 5-1 Los Angeles lead. Four pitches later, Pederson knocked Wojciechowski out of the game with another no-doubt drive into the right field seats, Pederson’s second homer in two games.
“I just didn’t locate,” Wojciechowski said. “The first two innings went pretty smoothly, then I got into a situation where they had runners on first and second. I worked Taylor into a good count and then left a fastball out over the plate and he put a good swing on it.
“I just got too much of the middle of the plate on three pitches. It’s frustrating. To feel like I felt for the first two innings and then for that to happen is frustrating. I’ve just got to let it go.”
Wojciechowski (1-1) suffered his first loss in six games and four starts since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on May 20. In his last two games, both starts against the Dodgers, he’s allowed a combined 11 hits and 10 runs, nine earned, in 7 1/3 innings for an 11.05 ERA.
Cozart, Votto and Adam Duvall all singled to start the third and Eugenio Suarez walked to push Cozart across the plate, but Schebler lined out to Seager at shortsop and Ryu nabbed Peraza’s sharp one-hopper and turned into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.
Price was ejected by plate umpire Stu Scheurwater, a vacation replacement called up from the minor leagues, after the umpire called Hamilton out on strikes to end the third inning with Scott Schebler on second base and Devin Mesoraco on first. The pitch was on the lower edge of Fox Sports Ohio’s strike box, but Hamilton flung his battling helmet and bat to the ground, and Scheurwater was seen gesturing toward the Reds dugout as if to say “That’s enough” before handing Price his first ejection of the season and 10th on his four seasons as Cincinnati’s manager.
“I think it was a young guy trying to do a good job, but there was some hesitation, and I didn’t care for it,” Price said. “You want the call immediately. The hesitation got under my skin. Then he got Billy for the uniform-violation fine thing, and I just didn’t think it was a good enough pitch for Billy to get fined.”
Seager and Bellinger each had first-inning doubles, giving Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. Hamilton singled to lead off the bottom of the first, went to third on Cozart’s double down the left field line and scored on Taylor’s throwing error.