By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — Gildna Radner, the old Saturday Nigh Live star, wrote a book entitled, ‘It’s Always Something.’
It wasn’t about the 2017 Cincinnati Reds, but it could have been because, indeed, with the Reds it is always something.
After a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night, the media swarmed Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart because they were a combined 3 for 49, failing to set the table for a stagnant Reds offense.
So on Saturday afternoon, on Pete Rose Statue Day, Hamilton and Cozart combined for four hits in the firs three innings. Did it make a difference? Not one iota.
THE DODGERS ASSAULTED REDS starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski for five runs in the third inning, including back-to-back home runs by Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson.
The Dodgers used that inning and four total home runs to post a 10-2 victory, administering an eighth straight loss to the Reds, five of them by the Dodgers (three in LA and two in Cincinnati).
This is the kind of ignominious day it was for the Reds. They hit three triples but none scored. Joey Votto had two doubles and a single and neither scored a run nor drove one in. The Reds were 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 10 runners.
IT WAS AN UGLY DUCKLING LOSS if there ever was one.
“This is unusual for us,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “Since our last game in LA we’ve scored nine runs in four games. That tide will turn offensively. We are too good of an offensive team for this to last too long.”
As Radner wrote and Price agrees, it is always something during an eight-game losing streak.
“We’ve had a couple of good starts by Tim Adleman and Amir Garrett that we weren’t able to capitalize on,” he added. “We’ve also had our share of these short starts (2 1/3 Saturday by Wojciechowski).
“It is a combination of we’re either getting blown out early or not scoring many when we get good pitching performances,” he said. “When you lose eight in a row you usually have a couple of each in that mix as well as some decent games you just lose by a run or two.”
THE REDS PUT THEIR LEADOFF batter on base in four of the first five innings but pushed across only two runs against Hyun-Jin Ryu.
After the Dodgers scored a run off Wojciechowski in the first inning on doubles by Corey Seager and Chris Taylor, Billy Hamilton led the Reds’ first with a single and scored on Zack Cozart’s double.
But Joey Votto struck out, Adam Duvall flied to center and Eugenio Suarez struck out.
Scott Schebler singled to open the second and Devin Mesoraco drew a one-out walk. Nothing materialized because Wojciechowski flied to right and Hamilton took a disputed called third strike and was fined for slamming his batting helmet to the ground. Reds manager Bryan Price disputed so heatedly that he was ejected by minor-league umpire Stu Schuerwater.
“It is a young umpire behind the plate trying to do a good job,” said Price. “I thought there was hesitation from the time the ball crossed the plate until he made his call. I didn’t care for that. You want the calls made immediately so there is no time time to ponder.
“We had some guys disenfranchised with some of his calls early in the game, but the hesitation got under my skin,” Price added. “Billy was upset and threw his helmet down and got hit with the uniform conduct fine. It wasn’t a good enough pitch for the kid to fine Billy for throwing his helmet down.”
IT WAS REAL UGLY IN THE third when the Reds put their first four runners on base and scored but one run. Cozart, Votto and Duvall all singled to fill the bases. Suarez drew a bases loaded walk to drive in a run and the bases were still filled with no outs.
Schebler lined to shortstop and Jose Peraza bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Wocjciechowski owned five strikeouts in the first two innings but an error by shortstop Cozart on pitcher Ryu’s ground ball opened the front gate for LA’s five-run inning.
Chase Utley grounded out, but Seager walked and Chris Taylor doubled for two runs. Bellinger, who missed the first 20 games of the season, cracked his 19th home run to tie for the National League lead. Pederson followed with a home run and it was 6-2.
AUSTIN BRICE REPLACED Wojciechowski during the third-inning uprising and he gave up a run-scoring single to Seager in the fourth and a home run to Yasiel Puig in the sixth to push LA’s lead ato 8-2,
Puig struck again the eighth with a leadoff home run off Jake Buchanan, the fourth homer of the day for the Dodgers and a 9-2 lead.
There were 42,431 payees, first sellout since Opening day and most in attendance to see Pete Rose and most of them gone by the fifth inning. And the Reds did very little to lure them back with their baseball display.