CINCINNATI -- Alex Wood was a triple threat for the Dodgers on Friday night, firing eight dominant innings, singling in an insurance run and putting down a threat by beginning a defensive double play in a 3-1 win over the Reds.The offense and defense, though, are just bonuses. Pitching is
CINCINNATI -- Alex Wood was a triple threat for the Dodgers on Friday night, firing eight dominant innings, singling in an insurance run and putting down a threat by beginning a defensive double play in a 3-1 win over the Reds.
The offense and defense, though, are just bonuses. Pitching is his profession, and he's in the third month of a career year having run his record to 7-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.90 after allowing one run and tying a career high with eight innings before turning it over to Kenley Jansen for his 14th save. Wood had five strikeouts without a walk.
"He was dominant against a team that is offensive," manager Dave Roberts said of Wood, who has opened the season with 10 consecutive starts without a loss, the most for a Dodger since Orel Hershiser had 11 at the start of 1985. "He got ahead of 80 percent of the hitters. He was on the attack from the beginning."
Joc Pederson's first homer since his concussion gave Wood a 1-0 lead in the second inning. In the bottom of the inning, converted outfielder Chris Taylor got turned around on Eugenio Suarez's line drive that went for a double, but Wood escaped when shortstop Corey Seager threw Suarez out at the plate on Jose Peraza's grounder, then Wood picked off Peraza.
Taylor redeemed his mistake with an RBI double in the third inning, and Wood pitched and fielded his way out of his only other jam, stabbing a sharp grounder heading up the middle from Devin Mesoraco and beginning an inning-ending double play.
"Glad I didn't mess it up," said Wood. "I always look to see where the fielders are. I reacted, then I slipped on the throw, but I got it there."
A two-out homer in the eighth by Mesoraco ruined the shutout bid and spoiled any chance that Roberts would let Wood come out for the ninth. Instead, Jansen came on, allowed a leadoff double to Billy Hamilton, then fanned Zack Cozart, Joey Votto and Adam Duvall on nine pitches.
Wood has rarely had the chance to face a lineup for a third time this year. But he had only 51 pitches through five innings, finished the eight innings with only 89 pitches and retired seven of the eight batters he faced for a third time.
"The biggest thing the third and fourth time, the guys you're facing have an approach, and once they've seen you and seen everything and you get tired, you have to commit and throw the pitch where you want," Wood said. "But you also have to think what you threw before, what to throw now, and it becomes a chess game."
Wood's best season was 2014 with Atlanta when he went 11-11 with a 2.78 ERA and threw 171 2/3 innings. Dodgers management snared him from the Braves in the one-sided Deadline trade in 2015 while unloading Hector Olivera. Wood missed much of last year with elbow surgery. This was only his second start since returning from sternum discomfort.
"This is the best my stuff's ever been, I've been saying that all year," he said. "Just because of that, the is the best roll I've ever had. For me, it's just the consistency, and I've been really happy with it."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.