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Dodgers stung in 6th of another loss to Reds

Stripling's strong start for naught as LA loses lead on Schebler's HR
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers found a new way to lose Saturday night that even they couldn't explain.

They let Ross Stripling's first win of the year get away with a bungled comebacker by reliever JT Chargois that set up a three-run homer by former teammate Scott Schebler for a 5-3 win by the Reds, their third straight at Dodger Stadium.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers found a new way to lose Saturday night that even they couldn't explain.

They let Ross Stripling's first win of the year get away with a bungled comebacker by reliever JT Chargois that set up a three-run homer by former teammate Scott Schebler for a 5-3 win by the Reds, their third straight at Dodger Stadium.

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And don't forget Cody Bellinger, who homered in the third inning, leading off the bottom of the ninth by bunting a 3-0 pitch back to the pitcher when the manager said he was given the take sign.

"Can't get out of our own way a little bit, maybe," said Stripling. "I wouldn't say anyone's panicking, but we're sick of this."

The Dodgers went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, stranded 11, are 16-23 on the season, have lost six of the last seven and the bullpen has been tagged for nine losses. Last year's bullpen went 32-19, the second-best bullpen winning percentage in MLB.

The game turned in the sixth inning on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder from Eugenio Suarez right into -- and out of -- the glove of Chargois. With runners now at first and second, Schebler followed with a three-run, opposite-field home run on a 3-2 fastball off Chargois, who had taken over for Stripling after he began the sixth by striking out Joey Votto and allowing a single by Scooter Gennett.

"I know he's wearing it pretty hard," Stripling said of Chargois.

Video: CIN@LAD: Roberts on 5-3 loss to the Reds

Among the postgame questions for manager Dave Roberts was letting Stripling bat with two outs and two on in the bottom of the fifth inning (he struck out), then removing him two batters into the next inning with a career-high seven strikeouts.

"This was the first time Ross pitched into the sixth inning," Roberts said of Stripling, now replacing the injured Clayton Kershaw in the rotation and still being stretched out from relief workloads. "Up to 79 pitches, more than he's ever thrown, got a guy you're comfortable getting Suarez out and it just didn't work out. We just didn't get it done."

Video: CIN@LAD: Stripling gets Votto looking in the 6th

Roberts further defended his strategy by saying Stripling has reverse splits, so he wanted him to begin the inning against the left-handed Votto and Gennett. Left-handed relievers Scott Alexander and Adam Liberatore were unavailable -- Alexander because of workload, Liberatore with a slight right ankle sprain suffered Friday night. Roberts was uncertain about putting switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, promoted before the game, into that situation.

Video: CIN@LAD: Venditte looks impressive in Dodgers debut

The Dodgers didn't score over the final four innings, which included pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig lining into a double play in the eighth inning and the odd decision by Bellinger.

"I had the take sign," confirmed Bellinger. "Knew the fastball was coming. I've done it so many times before I thought it was going to be an easy bunt. Just didn't execute. Just bad luck. If I could do it again, I wouldn't. At that moment, I thought it was a good play. Knew a heater was coming and those are the easiest pitches to bunt."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Dodgers had their chance in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal walked and was singled to second by pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer. Wandy Peralta was relieved by Jared Hughes, brought in to face pinch-hitter Puig, representing the tie-breaking run. Puig smoked a low liner that third baseman Suarez caught, then he doubled Grandal off second to end the threat.

Video: CIN@LAD: Suarez doubles off Grandal to escape jam

SOUND SMART
Cincinnati's last four-game sweep in Los Angeles was Aug. 5-8, 1976.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Enrique Hernandez's diving catch of Schebler's sinking liner to end the seventh inning was a Statcast™ 4-star defensive play with a 33 percent catch probability. He covered 58 feet in 3.7 seconds.

Video: CIN@LAD: Hernandez makes 33% probability grab in OF

HE SAID IT
"It was surprise, when I gave the third-base coach the take sign. In that situation, you want to make that guy throw strikes, 3-0 situation. I was surprised." -- Roberts' reaction to Bellinger's bunt

UP NEXT
Rich Hill draws the Mother's Day start on Sunday against the Reds and right-hander Luis Castillo in a 1:10 p.m. PT start that ends the homestand. Yasmani Grandal figures to be back behind the plate to catch Hill, who returned from 24 days on the disabled list and allowed five runs in four innings against Arizona on Tuesday.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers