The Dodgers entered the series against the Cincinnati Reds with a 12-game lead in the NL West, a Magic Number of 12, and a one-game losing streak. They leave with an 11-game lead, Magic Number of 10, and a four-game losing streak after the Reds swept them out of town on back-to-back walk-off wins.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound, the Dodgers looked to end a three-game skid in the series finale with the Reds, but the offense let him down again in the 3-2 loss. Kershaw threw seven innings and gave up four hits for two home runs with seven strikeouts.
The two runs he allowed both came off of solo long-balls to left-hander Jay Bruce. It was the first home run he had given up to a left-handed batter this season, and it just so happens he gave up two of them. Bruce was hitting 3-13 against Kersaw heading into Sunday.
Aside from Bruce, Kershaw only gave up two other hits in his seven innings. In the third he found himself in a lot of trouble after walking the pitcher Homer Bailey, balking him to second, singling him to third, and hitting Chris Helsey with a pitch.
He had to face Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, the heart of the Reds' order with bases loaed, and still got out of the inning, without allowing any runs in a very turbulent inning. Besides Bruce's home run in the fourth, Kershaw only let one other player reach second base in the game.
The Dodgers did not have a baserunner in their first 11 batters until Adrian Gonzalez singled in the fourth, and Hanley Ramirez doubled him home for their first run. Ramirez did all the heavy lifting, hitting a solo home run to tie the game at 2-2 in the seventh inning.
Besides Ramirez, only three other Dodgers got hits. They went down in order in five innings.
Chris Withrow took over for Kershaw in the eighth, striking out two batters in a perfect inning on 17 pitches. Belisario was brought in with the game tied 2-2 in the ninth, and gave up a single to Zack Cozart and a double to Ryan Hanigan.
Crawford could not cut off Hanigan's line drive to left field, and the ball went all the way to the wall. Juan Uribe relayed the ball home, but the throw was late and off-line, allowing Cozart to score the winning run as the Reds won their second walk-off in as many days.
The Dodgers leave Cincinnati with the bad taste of a sweep in their mouth. Even though the competition is much weaker from here on out, this is not the way they wanted to perform against a potential playoff team.