The Cincinnati Reds improved their team batting average five points in two days with two victories against the Chicago Cubs but showed Friday they’re still prone to offensive power outages.
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The Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in the National League with a 30-16 record, opened a three-game series at Great American Ball Park with a 6-0 victory. Starter Rich Hill, who struck out 10 in six innings, and three relievers, including former Red Dylan Floro, combined to hold the Reds to three hits.
“Rich Hill was really good tonight,” Reds manager David Bell said. “His fastball was low 90s, but it plays up. It looks like upper 90s from the side. It just has really good life. He knows how to pitch. He uses the top of the strike zone. It’s the old sneaky fastball. We didn’t get much going. He pitched a good game.”
This was Hill’s fourth and best start of the season. He improved to 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. The 39-year-old, 15-year veteran started his career with the Cubs in 2005 and has won 23 games the last two seasons. He has a career ERA of 3.92.
Hill retired the first 10 Reds he faced until Joey Votto singled in the fourth. Eugenio Suarez and Curt Casali had the other two Reds hits.
“Tonight Richie had it going,”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game. “He was spinning it the right way at the top of the zone. The breaking ball had that north-south depth that he likes. He was in complete control tonight.”
The Reds (20-25) were shut out for the seventh time. The only team in baseball that has been shut out more is the Miami Marlins, who have failed to score a run nine times. This was also the seventh time this season the Reds have collected three hits or fewer. Their team average fell to .217, the worst in baseball.
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The Reds fell behind early as the Dodgers hit three home runs in the first three innings against starter Anthony DeSclafani. Corey Seager hit a two-run home run in the second. Joc Pederson and Max Muncy hit solo home runs in the third.
DeSclafani lasted four innings for the second straight start. He fell to 0-5 against the Dodgers in his career.
“Nothing worked,” he said. “It was pretty embarrassing to say the least for myself. I’ve got to be better. I was trying to find something. It just seemed like I got lucky pretty much all night with line drives smoked right at guys. I wasn’t fooling anybody. I guess you’re going to have those nights, but it’s pretty frustrating in general, especially when you’re trying to get better. It’s like a punch in the face. I’ve got to put it behind me and keep working.”