Pitching close to home, Tyler Mahle wanted to give his family and friends something worth the drive from Orange County.
Early on, the Dodgers were running his pitch count high enough that Mahle figured he’d be gone.
“That would have been a bummer,” he said.
Instead, Mahle outdueled Walker Buehler in a matchup of 23-year-old right-handers, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 on Thursday night for their season-high third straight victory.
“I was happy I was able to grind it out for five and get the third win in a row for us,” he said. “That’s one of the top outings I’ve had to grind it out that I can think of. It was really fun, actually.”
Scooter Gennett went 3 for 4 and drove in three runs, while Mahle and three relievers combined on a four-hitter in the series opener.
“He did a really good job,” Gennett said of Mahle. “He kept us in the ballgame.”
Mahle fanned two, giving him 44 strikeouts in eight starts this season, which leads the majors among pitchers his age or younger.
Mahle (3-4) allowed one run and three hits in five innings and walked four. Dylan Floro and Wandy Peralta followed with one hit over 2 2/3 innings before Raisel Iglesias tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief with three strikeouts for his fifth save.
“It was some kind of impressive performance, especially with some things happening where he ended up throwing more pitches then we were hoping,” interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “He really was electric with his stuff and he got better as the night went on.”
Buehler retired 15 of his first 17 batters before the Reds got to him in the sixth, ending his streak of 15 scoreless innings — longest by a Dodgers pitcher this season.
Gennett doubled in the tying and go-ahead runs with two outs in the inning, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead.
“I can’t give up two runs when we only have one,” Buehler said. “It’s just not going our way right now.”
Billy Hamilton added a run in the seventh on a two-out triple in the right-field corner that scored Tucker Barnhart, who hit a leadoff double. Hamilton was 2 for 4.
Gennett homered on the first pitch from Daniel Hudson in the eighth, extending the Reds’ lead to 4-1.
The last-place Reds ended their futility against the Dodgers. They had lost eight in a row overall and nine straight in Los Angeles.
Joey Votto went 2 for 4 with a run scored after defensive miscues in the first two innings. He was charged with an error in the first when he couldn’t pick up Yasmani Grandal’s grounder and flipped to first base too late. Votto fielded a sacrifice bunt by Buehler in the second, but his throw to second base sailed past Gennett and the runner was safe.
Buehler (2-1) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He tied a career high with eight strikeouts and walked none. He was a key contributor to the Dodgers’ combined no-hitter against the Padres in Mexico last week.
“Walker was exceptional,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Walker pitched his tail off and he had no margin for error. He ends up wearing the loss, so it’s very frustrating.”
The Dodgers’ lone run came on Chase Utley’s RBI single with two outs in the first.
Cody Bellinger, last year’s NL rookie of the year, was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts. Leadoff hitter Chris Taylor was hitless in four at-bats, Matt Kemp was 0 for 3 with a walk and Yasiel Puig was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
“This isn’t a ‘try’ league. Everyone is trying. You got to get production,” Roberts said. “It looks lackluster when you’re not hitting.”
Los Angeles fell to 8-10 at home, a record that Roberts called “inexcusable” before the game.
Reds: Michael Lorenzen (right shoulder strain) threw 20 pitches in an extended spring training game in Goodyear, Arizona. … Anthony DeSclafani (left oblique strain) is expected to pitch Monday in Goodyear after throwing 39 pitches in an extended spring game and finishing with a nine-pitch bullpen on Wednesday.
Matt Harvey begins his post-Mets career when he debuts for the Reds in what is expected to be an abbreviated start. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four career starts against LA, the last coming in 2015. Right-hander Kenta Maeda (2-2, 4.02 ERA) takes the mound for the Dodgers.