LOS ANGELES -- Matt Harvey straightened out his recent struggles for a night, allowing only one hit in four scoreless innings in his debut for the Reds, as they beat the Dodgers on Friday, 6-2.
"It's just not happening," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, in another variation of the same postgame theme. "But we still believe in the guys in the clubhouse. The worm has got to turn at some point. Sooner would certainly be better than later."
The Dodgers have lost five of their last six and are three games below .500 at Dodger Stadium after being the best at home in MLB last year. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, which is about their average recently.
Last year's National League champions are 16-22; a year ago, after 38 games, they were 22-16. Of their 104 wins last year, 47 were comebacks and 18 came in the last at-bat. This year, they have only four comeback wins and three in the last at-bat. They won 34 games last year when the opponent scored first, but only two this year.
And in this game, they couldn't do a thing against Harvey, who hadn't won this year, hadn't started since April 19 and was traded this week when the Mets gave up on him. Despite all that, he showed there's still hope five years after his only All-Star appearance, especially when opposing a Dodgers team in a tailspin.
"He got our guys out tonight," said Roberts. "It's one of those things, hopefully this cycle ends soon."
The only Dodgers hit off Harvey (restrained by a 55-pitch limit) shouldn't have been, ruled a Cody Bellinger one-out triple in the second inning, although it's a routine out if Cincinnati right fielder Scott Schebler doesn't lose it in the twilight sky. Even at that, Bellinger was stranded when Chris Taylor struck out and Player Page for Max Muncy lined out sharply to center.
Taylor was batting sixth in the order, dropped from his customary leadoff spot as Roberts tried to shake up his offense. Taylor tripled and scored a run, but also struck out three times.
"No one is trying to make outs, I can promise that," Roberts said. "You can try to analyze it, say whatever you want, you can have your thoughts and opinions, but we're not in sync. It'll turn."
Muncy was the Dodgers' offensive star, slugging a solo home run in the seventh inning and an RBI double in the fifth for the two Dodgers runs. The home run, on an 0-2 pitch from Austin Brice, was Muncy's third as part-time replacement for injured third baseman Justin Turner, who might return next week.
The Reds saw 34 pitches in the first inning against Kenta Maeda, putting four runners on base but getting only one run. Joey Votto singled to cash in Jesse Winker's double off the top of the box-seat railing. Maeda allowed a season-high five runs and lasted only 4 2/3 innings.
"Kenta didn't pitch well tonight," said Roberts. "We got put behind the 8-ball early."
Jose Peraza led off the third with a double and, with one out, was singled home by Scooter Gennett. One out later, Tucker Barnhart singled in the third run. Gennett lofted his second home run in as many nights in L.A., and fourth in the last four games, a two-run shot in the fifth inning after a leadoff walk by Votto.
"[Maeda] left a cutter up," said Roberts. "That was a big blow right there."
Maeda is 2-3 and winless in his last four starts.
With Harvey removed, the Dodgers finally scored in the fifth off Jackson Stephens on a one-out triple by Taylor and Muncy's double.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Despite trailing from the first inning, the Dodgers had the makings of a rally going with two men on and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. But Cincinnati then called on closer Raisel Iglesias, who struck out Taylor looking and got the pesky Muncy with a sliding catch by left fielder Adam Duvall.
Matt Kemp was called out on strikes to end the bottom of the sixth inning and was removed in a double-switch. Then, from the dugout, he began badgering plate umpire Alan Porter, who ejected him.
"There were some close calls tonight, but that's not why we lost the game," said Roberts.
HE SAID IT
"Momentum's real. But I also believe in making your own breaks and being proactive. You get behind and it's the same old thing again? That's contagious, too, as opposed to get behind and we're going to find a way to win. Those thoughts are contagious. You have to win games to create that. It doesn't manifest itself out of thin air." -- Roberts
Thomas Stripling, standing in for the injured Clayton Kershaw, gets another start Saturday night for the Dodgers against the Reds and right-hander Homer Bailey, in a 6:10 p.m. PT start. Stripling threw four scoreless innings on Sunday in Mexico against the Padres and will be looking to pitch deeper against Cincinnati.