LA-Cincinnati: Strange Rally in Ninth Falls Short, Dodgers Lose 4-2

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LA-Cincinnati: Strange Rally in Ninth Falls Short, Dodgers Lose 4-2

The Los Angeles Dodgers came into town riding high, but fell hard against the Cincinnati Reds in a 4-2 loss on Friday night.

The Dodgers (76-53) arrived in the Midwest having won two out of three games on the road in Colorado, but struggled to capitalize on scoring opportunities inning after inning on Homer Bailey and the Reds (56-71).

Manny Ramirez took a called strike-three with the bases loaded to end the game and stymie a late Dodgers’ rally in the opener of a three-game series.

The rally started when the Reds’ brought in Nick Masset for he ninth, but James Loney finally broke the shutout when he led with a long home run to right field, slimming the deficit to 4-1.

It was Loney’s ninth home run of the season, all of which have come on the road.

Masset came out after a Russell Martin pop out and Francisco Cordero came on, allowing back-to-back two-out singles before walking Matt Kemp to load the bases.

Andre Ethier came up and in a bizarre sequence of events, extended the game by striking out.

Cordero threw a slider that Ethier whiffed at, but the pitch hit him in the foot and bounced towards the dugout, allowing Mark Loretta to score from third and make it a 4-2 game.

But Ramirez took a 1-2 pitch on the outer half to seal the deal and secure a fifth consecutive win for Dusty Baker and the Reds.

The final inning summed up a night when the offense went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men stranded, wasting a solid effort from the top of the order.

Rafael Furcal, batting leadoff, went 3-for-5 and Kemp, batting second, went 2-for-4 but never came around to score as the three-four-five hitters went only 1-for-11.

The two started the sixth with back-to-back singles.

Having cruised through the first five innings and with the heart of the order coming up, it looked as if Homer Bailey’s night was about to turn sour.

Yet the youngster buckled down and retired Ramirez, Ethier, and Casey Blake in order to put out the fire.

In the top of the eighth, it was more of the same.

Furcal reached on an error to start the frame and Ethier walked one batter later.

That brought up Ramirez with two on and one out, but he lined out to center, and then Blake struck out, keeping the shutout for Bailey intact.

The Dodgers’ turned to Chad Billingsley on the mound, but he was snake-bitten by leaving multiple sliders out over the plate.

Two separate RBI singles and a Joey Votto double came off the slider, leading to mediocre performance for the big right-hander.

Billingsley worked five-plus innings and allowed four runs on seven hits, walking four while only striking out one batter.

Ranked ninth in the National League in strikeouts, he has recorded just seven in his past three starts.

He exited after giving up a leadoff home run to Jonny Gomes in the sixth inning.

The bullpen cleaned up for three shutout innings after notching four such innings yesterday to keep the game close and allow for the ninth-inning rally that fell just short.

The teams will square off for a Saturday afternoon contest, which pits the Dodgers’ Charlie Haeger (1-1, 1.93) against the Reds’ Matt Maloney (0-2, 6.11).

 

 

 

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WP: Bailey (4-4)

LP: Billingsley (12-8)

SV: Cordero (29)

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers

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