Los Angeles at Cincinnati

Scoreboard
L.A. Dodgers (58-55)000000000040
Cincinnati (49-64) «00100000x180

Reds' Harang tabs win in first start since being sidelined

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CINCINNATI -- With their growing string of zeroes, the Los Angeles Dodgers are sinking deeper into one of those slumps that comes around once in a generation.

Shades of '66.

Ken Griffey Jr. singled home a run and made a pair of rally-snuffing defensive plays Wednesday night, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 1-0 victory that left Los Angeles blanked for the third game in a row.

The Dodgers' offensive slump is reaching near-epic proportions. They hadn't been shut out three games in a row since 1966. That year, they were shut out three in a row from April 23-25, then again in the last three games of their World Series while they were getting swept by Baltimore.

With every errant swing, they look like their '66 selves. And the gallows humor is starting.

Manager Grady Little noted that he watched Aaron Harang and 56-year-old pitching coach Dick Pole leave the Reds bullpen after pregame warmups.

"I saw two big men walk through that gate, and either one of them could have shut us out tonight," Little said. "We're in it bad right now."

The Dodgers didn't hit the ball hard very often off right-hander Harang (11-3) and when they did, some glove was there to extend the agony. Harang gave up four hits over eight muggy innings, and the Reds made four exemplary plays to keep Los Angeles stuck on zero again.

Los Angeles hasn't scored in its last 28 innings.

"One big hit. That's all we need," said Matt Kemp, who thought he had broken the bad spell in the eighth inning, only to get robbed by second baseman Brandon Phillips. "When you're going bad, you do something good and the other team does something to bring you back down."

Los Angeles has lost a season-high six in a row and been shut out in four of the last five games. The Dodgers have dropped 15 of 20 overall, plummeting from first place to fourth in the NL West for the first time since April 5.

"It's tough," said Chad Billingsley (7-3), who lost despite giving up only one run. "Our third shutout in a row. It's a tough stretch we're going through right here. Bad luck's coming toward us right now."

Griffey's run-scoring single off Billingsley in the third inning put the Reds in line for the win. The right fielder also made a pair of impressive catches to steal hits.

Griffey made a diving, backhand catch on James Loney's soft fly leading off the third, then ran down Jeff Kent's leadoff liner to the warning track in the seventh. Without those catches, the Dodgers would have had something going.

Loney opened the eighth with a double, but Phillips saved the shutout by making a diving catch of Kemp's sinking liner, then flipping to second to double up Loney and multiply the Dodgers' frustration.

"I saw him catching the ball all the way," Harang said. "That was a huge play right there. That cut that inning down really fast."

Kemp ran a few steps toward first base, saw the catch and reared the bat over his shoulder in frustration.

"That's just how it's going right now," Kemp said.

Phillips made a diving stop on Kent's up-the-middle grounder and threw him out to end the game with another sensational play that brought more Dodger blues.

"Pitching and defense -- the old equation for success in baseball," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "Griffey made a couple of nice catches, and you can't say enough about Phillips' play at the end."

With Harang back in form, the Dodgers' best chance of scoring was to get into the NL's worst bullpen. Not even that worked. David Weathers recorded the last three outs for his 22nd save in 27 chances.

For the second day in a row, it was 97 degrees at the first pitch -- the hottest temperature for a game in Great American Ball Park's five seasons. The heat seemed to help Harang.

The right-hander had to leave his July 28 start in Chicago after only one inning because of lower-back pain. Although he felt fine during workouts, the Reds kept an extra relief pitcher around in part because they weren't sure how Harang's back would react when he took the mound again.

After 11 pitches, they had their answer. Harang coasted through the first inning with that many throws. His fastball nudged 94 mph on the scoreboard and his slider had regained its nastiness -- signs that his back was fine and the Dodgers were in trouble.

Notes

  • Kent went 0-for-4, ending his 12-game hitting streak. His streak of reaching base safely in 39 consecutive games also ended.
  • Reds OF Ryan Freel had surgery to repair cartilage and remove a bone spur from his right knee. Freel will miss the rest of the season.
  • The Reds claimed OF Jason Ellison off waivers from Seattle to fill Freel's spot. Ellison is expected to join the Reds on Thursday, when they will get rid of one of their 13 pitchers to open a roster spot.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Aaron Harang blows through the Dodgers in his first game back from injury, yielding just four hits.  (AP)
Aaron Harang blows through the Dodgers in his first game back from injury, yielding just four hits. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

K. Griffey
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Cincinnati

A. Harang
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 1
K 8
 

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Los Angeles Dodgers
Juan Pierre, CF4000001 .278
Rafael Furcal, SS4010010 .281
Russell Martin, C4010000 .295
Jeff Kent, 2B4000022 .301
Andre Ethier, LF3000012 .297
Nomar Garciaparra, 3B3010000 .279
James Loney, 1B3010000 .321
Matt Kemp, RF3000021 .321
Chad Billingsley, P2000021 .111
    Scott Proctor, P0000000 .000
   a- Olmedo Saenz, PH0000100 .176
    Delwyn Young, PR0000000 .286
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
Totals3004018  
a-walked for Proctor in the 8th
Batting
2B - James Loney (9, Harang)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Furcal-Kent-Loney
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chad Billingsley (L,7-3) 5611430 3.34
Scott Proctor 2100000 3.60
Jonathan Broxton 1100020 2.51
WP - Chad Billingsley 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Chad Billingsley 98-58, Scott Proctor 17-11, Jonathan Broxton 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chad Billingsley 6-6, Scott Proctor 4-1
Batters Faced - Chad Billingsley 25, Scott Proctor 6, Jonathan Broxton 4
Cincinnati Reds
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4110002 .305
Norris Hopper, CF3010101 .287
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4021004 .274
Brandon Phillips, 2B4000013 .276
Adam Dunn, LF2000210 .261
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4000013 .266
Alex Gonzalez, SS4030011 .263
David Ross, C3010101 .203
Aaron Harang, P2000013 .122
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
Totals3018145  
Batting
2B - Scott Hatteberg (20, Billingsley), Alex Gonzalez (21, Broxton)
SH - Aaron Harang (8)
RBI - Ken Griffey Jr. (71)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - B. Phillips-A. Gonzalez
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (W,11-3) 8400180 3.37
David Weathers (S,22) 1000000 3.28
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 111-74, David Weathers 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 8-7, David Weathers 2-1
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 28, David Weathers 3
Game Information
Attendance - 20462
Game Time - 2:28
Temperature - 97
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Dale Scott