Zack Greinke found himself again posting zeros in a game that his offense was giving him little to no run support on Thursday.
Thankfully, one run was all Greinke and the Dodgers bullpen needed as Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 1-0 win at Great American Park.
Greinke (14-3) allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings lowering his Major League-leading ERA to 1.61 on the season. He also recorded nine strikeouts while working his way out of multiple jams throughout the game.
The Dodgers head back to Los Angeles salvaging the last three games of a road trip that saw them lose the first five, their longest losing streak of the season.
"It was looking bad for a little bit," Greinke said. "You hope to do better on a road trip, but we're still in first place. That's important."
Some unfamiliar faces closed the game out for the Dodgers as reliever Chris Hatcher pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the hold, and former Atlanta Braves closer Jim Johnson, worked the ninth, recording his 10th save of the season.
Both Johnson and Hatcher have struggled for the Dodgers this season with each right-hander posting ERAs of over 5.00. However, with regular relievers Pedro Baez, Juan Nicaso, Luis Avilan and Kenley Jansen working overtime this week, Hatcher and Johnson were the only arms available out of the pen.
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If anything, the clutch pitching should give both relievers confidence as the Dodgers move into the stretch run with a division title on the line.
Reds' starter Anthony DeSclafani (7-10) pitched well against Los Angeles for the second time in his last three starts. DeScalafani allowed one run on six hits with six strikeouts in seven innings.
"It's fun to go against Greinke," the rookie said. "I knew I had to do my best. It was tough on the hitters today going against him."
DeSclafani's only mistake came in the second inning when Justin Turner, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig all hit consecutive singles to load the bases. DeSclafani was able to get Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal to hit into a double play, but the run scored on the play, the only run that would cross the plate the entire day.
LA's three-game sweep was their first in Cincinnati since July of 2009, but the Dodgers did not leave the Queen City without cause for concern.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez left the game in the fourth inning after he fouled a ball of his right knee. He was immediately replaced by Scott Van Slyke and is listed as day-today.
Right fielder Yasiel Puig was also severely injured in the game as he legged out an infield single in the top of the ninth inning. Puig came up lame, reaching for his left hamstring after the play. He too, was immediately removed from the game, and there is cause for concern that Puig could miss significant time with the injury.
Puig missed 38 games earlier in the season because of the left hamstring injury, and recently missed three games on the current road trip after injuring his right hamstring in Oakland.
Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick is still on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury of his own, and is expected to make a rehab start this weekend.
After three days off in the last 11 days, the Dodgers will play 23 games in the next 24 days of the season. With rosters expanding on September 1st, there is talk within the organization of bringing back Mike Bolsinger as a sixth starter the remainder of the season.
The Reds turned five double plays in the game, the most they've turned since April 8, 2003.
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