CINCINNATI -- The Dodgers and Reds seem to be going in opposite directions after another Los Angeles victory on Sunday. With the 8-7 win, the Dodgers swept Cincinnati for the second time in a week. This marks the ninth loss in a row for the Reds, tying the longest losing streak by a Major League team this season, while Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10.
Facing an 8-2 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Reds showed their first signs of life all series. After Tucker Barnhart and Patrick Kivlehan reached base to open the inning, Scooter Gennett came through two batters later with a three-run home run to right field to make it 8-5.
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Eugenio Suarez led off the bottom of the next inning with a homer, and a pair of doubles from Arismendy Alcantara and Billy Hamilton made it 8-7. That would be as close as the Reds would get to avoiding the sweep, however, as Enrique Hernandez made a leaping catch at the wall on a Joey Votto flyball to end the inning and thwart the comeback attempt.
"Hernandez makes the play of the year going up against the wall with [two on] and two outs, which definitely would have given us the lead with the chance to close it out with [Raisel Iglesias]," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "So hats off to the Dodgers. They really won the game. It wasn't like we really gave it to them. They went out and won it."
Los Angeles jumped out to an early lead for the third day in a row, stringing together four two-out hits on Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the second inning for three runs. In the next inning, John Forsythe drove in two more with a mammoth 442-foot home run -- his longest since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015.
Forsythe, who came in hitting .127 against right-handed pitchers with more than three times as many strikeouts (33) as hits (10), was 2-for-5 against Reds righties on Sunday. He's been working on his swing ever since returning from a month on the disabled list with a broken toe and a strained hamstring.
"The last couple of games the timing's been a little bit better," said Forsythe. "I'm getting into a position where I can actually fire and be a little more aggressive. The work is starting to pay off, and the suggestions from about everybody. It's been a long road. Haven't been in a slump like that for a long time."
Arroyo's day was done after the third inning, making it his shortest outing since 2010. He allowed seven hits and five runs, raising his MLB-worst ERA to 7.35.
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Opposite Arroyo, Kenta Maeda was very effective in his first spot start since being demoted to the bullpen on June 10. The right-hander tossed five innings of one-run ball, giving up just three hits and striking out five.
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Reds squander opportunity: Trailing 5-0 entering the bottom of the fourth, the Reds managed to load the bases with one out against Maeda. They scratched across one run after Maeda hit Scott Schebler with an inside fastball, but weren't able to chip away any further. After Schebler's at-bat, Suarez lifted a ball into shallow-right, but Yasiel Puig traveled 20 feet in 2.5 seconds to make a four-star catch and stop at least one run from scoring. Alcantara then grounded out to second to end the inning.
"My catch was nothing. Kiké's catch was the best," said Puig. "Anybody can make my catch. Kiké's catch, I like that one more. My catch, I don't get any hits, so I have to do something to help my team."
Hernandez's game-saving catch: Trailing 8-7 in the bottom of the eighth, the Reds looked poised to take the lead when Votto lifted a ball high and deep to left field with two runners on base. But Hernandez made sure they wouldn't, leaping at the wall to corral the ball and end the inning. Afterward, Hernandez turned to the fans in the right-field seats and raised his glove to show that, yes, he really caught that.
"I was playing pretty shallow and Joey Votto is a good enough hitter that I didn't want him to shoot one the other way," said Hernandez. "The fans were talking a lot of trash, so if there was a ball hit anywhere near me, I had to catch it or throw him out at the plate. Off the bat I had a pretty good jump, but I didn't realize how shallow I was. I felt like I ran forever."
In addition to the game-saving catch, Hernandez also had two doubles and two walks in the win.
"It ended up being a much better game and much more entertaining game than anyone would have anticipated, but no one wants to talk about it when you're losing, no one wants to talk about the effort. But I do, because it makes a difference. It makes a difference to the guys who are still playing hard." -- Price, on his team's ability to once again make the game close
Dodgers:Clayton Kershaw starts Monday night's 7:10 p.m. PT series opener against the Mets. The Dodgers will like their chances: in 13 career starts against the Mets, Kershaw is 8-1 with a 1.49 ERA, limiting hitters to a .177/.245/.237 slashline. Kershaw will be pitching with an extra day of rest, as well. Catcher Yasmani Grandal and left fielder Chris Taylor are expected back in the lineup after getting Sunday's game off.
Reds:Scott Feldman takes the mound for Monday's 7:10 p.m. ET series opener between the Reds and the Rays, which is just the 13th all-time meeting between the two teams. Feldman has had his share of problems with Rays batters over his career, as they have a combined .314 average and .848 OPS against the right-hander.
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