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Dodgers take down nemesis Reds in finale

Grandal, Turner each drive in three; seven pitchers combine for five-hitter
September 12, 2018

CINCINNATI -- He was joking, but not really."We can beat them," a relieved manager Dave Roberts said after the Dodgers finally beat -- and beat up -- the Reds, 8-1, on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park to end a season series of suffering."These guys had our number all year,"

CINCINNATI -- He was joking, but not really.
"We can beat them," a relieved manager Dave Roberts said after the Dodgers finally beat -- and beat up -- the Reds, 8-1, on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park to end a season series of suffering.
"These guys had our number all year," Roberts said. "Just to get out of here with a win, where we're at, is a good thing."
The Dodgers are 1 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West and now head to St. Louis for four contests against a club two games ahead of Los Angeles for the second Wild Card spot.

The Dodgers had lost their previous six meetings against Cincinnati this year, with the Reds seeking the first season sweep of the Dodgers in the 119-year history of the rivalry. But the Dodgers won the finale as Joc Pederson homered and doubled, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal each drove in three runs, Yasiel Puig collected three hits and seven pitchers combined on a five-hitter.
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani retired the first nine Dodgers, but Pederson led off the fourth inning with his 21st homer and second in as many games, triggering the type of lineup-wide production from the Dodgers at their best.
"In the past week or so, we've scored a lot of runs on just home runs and haven't done the best job of hitting runners in," Pederson said. "J.T.'s two RBIs on a single up the middle was huge just to get the flow going so we don't have to rely on the long ball. Situational hitting is key in big games."

Turner, the National League Player of the Month Award winner for August, has debated reporters recently on the consistency of the Dodgers' offense.
"We're all well aware of the conversations going on about the boom or bust, the hot or cold, the all home runs or nothing," said Turner, who returned from a brief breather on Tuesday night with a double and single. "Today, obviously, we had a lot of hits in scoring position and good results."
Thomas Stripling made his first start for the Dodgers since Aug. 9 and exceeded the projected three innings by one out, allowing only one run and leaving with a 2-1 lead. He might come back and start in St. Louis on short rest Sunday, Roberts said.
A bullpen game followed Stripling, with Caleb Ferguson (6-2) given the win for striking out the side in the fifth inning and closer Kenley Jansen pitching the ninth, his first work since skipping the Colorado series as a health precaution.
"For me, today the bullpen was what it was about," Roberts said. "The guys did an outstanding job."

Grandal contributed three run-scoring hits. He said some of the offense's recent inconsistency should be credited to good opposing pitching and, in his case specifically, bad luck on good swings.
"I've looked at some numbers that say I should be hitting .340," Grandal said, referring to exit velocity and launch angle. "That's all I care about, as long as I'm hitting the ball hard somewhere, as long as I'm walking. If I'm walking, I'm good. When I'm striking out a lot, that's when I need to figure out what I'm doing."

The Dodgers have homered in 20 consecutive games, extending their Los Angeles record. They are four shy of the Brooklyn franchise record set in 1953.
In his first outing in a week, Jansen retired the Reds in order in the ninth, although he said he wasn't comfortable during the at-bat of Joey Votto, whose drive to the warning track was run down by Puig. But Jansen got a called strikeout of Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett on a popout. Jansen missed the series in Colorado last weekend on doctor's orders because of his heart condition.

"We've had hiccups, every 'pen has hiccups, but the whole body of work, I think the 'pen's done a nice job." -- Roberts
Grandal's two-out line drive to the top of the right-center wall was ruled a double on fan interference when a young fan reached over and caught the ball. Umpires ruled that Player Page for Max Muncy, who was on first base, would have scored and awarded the Dodgers a run. The Reds challenged, but the call stood upon review.

Clayton Kershaw was pushed back one day to start Thursday's 4:15 p.m. PT opener against the Cardinals and Austin Gomber. Kershaw has been typically tough as nails down the stretch. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in a start since July 15 and hasn't lasted fewer than six innings since June 28. He has lost only once since April 25.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for since 2001.