Dodgers 1, Reds 0: Zack Greinke, bullpen pitch a shutout

The Dodgers completed a much-needed 3-game sweep of the Reds on Thursday by defeating them 1-0 in Cincinnati.

Zack Greinke was, as usual, great. He was in control of the game the entire day, even if he wasn’t as sharp as he has been at times this season. Still, he posted a fine line: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 109 pitches, 67 strikes, 5/3 GO/AO. The worst part of his game is the fact he went hitless. The only real spot of bother he got into was in the third inning. He allowed two singles, but pitched around them to end the Reds’ best threat against him.

Reds’ starter Anthony DeSclafani almost matched him pitch-for-pitch: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. However, he was helped by getting the Dodgers to ground into four double plays.

Speaking of double plays, Yasmani Grandal returned to the starting lineup and prompted to ground into three (!) of those double plays. He also struck out against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning to give him seven left on base for the afternoon. #ShouldOf started A.J. Ellis. Despite all that, though, his double play in the second inning gave the Dodgers their lone run of the game. Technically, they don’t win the game without it, so, yay double plays!

In the eighth inning, Chris Hatcher got the call out of the bullpen. He struck out Skip Schumaker (not surprising as he is terrible) and got Todd Frazier to fly out. With two outs, he issued the most unsurprising walk in the history of walks, as Joey Votto didn’t get a pitch to hit. Brandon Phillips grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the frame.

The Dodgers’ best scoring chance late in the game came in the ninth inning. Justin Turner walked, Enrique Hernandez reached on an error and Yasiel Puig got an infield single. Unfortunately, Puig looked to have re-aggravated his right hamstring injury and came out of the game. Grandal struck out instead of grounding into a double play, Joc Pederson (also back in the starting lineup) fouled out and Alex Guerrero (back from his fishing expedition) popped out.

For good measure …

In the bottom of the ninth inning, it was Jim Johnson — not Kenley Jansen — who was called upon to close the game. It was a time of great stress and tension. Naturally, Johnson needed just 12 pitches to retire the Reds 1-2-3, because of course he did. Baseball!

Adrian Gonzalez left the game in the fifth inning after fouling a ball of his knee in the third inning. It’s a contusion and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him get a day or two off (Jon Lester pitches Saturday).

The Dodgers improve to 70-56 with the victory. They return home to face the Cubs for a weekend series beginning tomorrow night. Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.29 ERA) takes on Jason Hammel (7-5, 3.35). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time. The Dodgers are three games up in the NL West, pending the outcome of the Cub/Giant game later today.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.