By Steve Dilbeck
1:55 AM EDT, July 26, 2013
Maybe they’re just a good road team.
Fresh off winning six away from home, the Dodgers flew to Los Angeles from Toronto early in the morning, nestled into their beds about 5 a.m., and then went out and fell flat.
They never led Thursday, never mounted anything close to a magical comeback, and lost unspectacularly, 5-2, to the Reds before a sellout crowd of 53,275 at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers returned home as baseball’s hottest team, having won 23 of their last 28 games, but never could get much going against Cincinnati.
Their uninspired play could have something to do with the strange schedule that had them playing at home a day after a night game in the East, or maybe a lot to do with the fact they are no longer playing struggling teams such the Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.
The Dodgers sent right-hander Zack Greinke out to keep their six-game winning streak alive, and if he pitched decently, it was still not enough to keep up with Cincinnati’s Mat Latos.
Latos entered the game with a 3-6 career record against the Dodgers, though many of his losses were of the one-run variety. He also had a 2.48 earned-run average against them, and showed why Thursday.
The Reds gave Latos a 2-0 lead to work with, scoring single runs in the first and second innings.
In the first inning, former Dodger Xavier Paul acted like someone still a tad upset about being traded, drilling his sixth home run of the season. In the second, Todd Frazier doubled down the left-field line and scored on a looping single by another ex-Dodger, Cesar Izturis.
Latos made it hold up until the fourth when Yasiel Puig helped manufacture a run. He led off with a base hit up the middle, but took a big turn at first. Center fielder Shin-Soo Choo, no doubt made aware of Puig’s speed, thought he had wandered too far off the bag and fired to first.
It’s doubtful a good throw would have nailed Puig, who had slammed on his breaks and started back to first, but we’ll never know. The throw went 10 feet down the line toward home and bounced into the crowd.
Puig advanced to third on the error and then scored when Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to second.
The Dodgers were back within a run, just not for long. After turning a nice double play on a comebacker, Greinke hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch in the sixth. Possibly upset by the hit batter, Grienke threw a wild pitch and then gave up a two-run homer to Jay Bruce.
Greinke (8-3) left after throwing seven innings, allowing the four runs on six hits and a walk, with four strikeouts.
The Dodgers got one run back in the eighth when Carl Crawford led off with a double, took third on a groundout and scored on another groundout from Gonzalez.
Latos (10-3) went 7 2/3 innings for the Reds, allowing two run on eight hits and a walk.
The Reds added an insurance run in the eighth against reliever Carlos Marmol, who's looking like a bust, on a walk and two singles. Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 24th save.
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times