By HAL McCOY
Tyler Mahle pitched 35 miles from his hometown in Dodger Stadium Thursday night and pitched in front of a a large gathering of relatives, friends and acquaintances.
And he probably was jittery and too juiced up, not close to his natural self, especially in the first three innings.
He was in trouble in each of the first three innings, some of it not his doing, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but squirmed out of it each and every time with true grit and a ton of guts.
Because he hung in there, giving up only one unearned run, the Cincinnati Reds stopped the Dodgers, 4-1, winning a third straight game for the first time this season.
And Mahle was credited with the win.
Mahle faced the bases loaded in the first inning. And he got out of it with one unearned run.
Mahle faced the bases loaded in the second inning. And he got out of it with no runs.
Mahle faced two runners on base in the third inning. And he got out of it with no runs.
And the Reds got an upfront and person view of how LA pitcher Walker Buehler pitched six no-hit innings in his previous start against the San Diego Padres in Monterrey, Mexico. Buehler and the bullpen pitched a combined no-hitter.
Buehler gave up a pair of two-out hits in the top of the first inning, then retired 14 straight batters.
The Dodgers scored in the first on one of Mahle’s four walks, an error by first baseman Joey Votto, another walk and a single by Chase Utley.
And that was it. The Dodgers wouldn’t score again as Mahle pitched five innings and gave up just the unearned run, three hits and walked four. He need 109 pitches to get through five innings and went to 3-and-2 counts five times.
He survived with moxie and intestinal fortitude.
After retiring 14 straight, Buehler gave up a one-out single to Jesse Winker in the sixth. He had two outs when Joey Votto singled and Scooter Gennett crushed a two-run double to the wall in center field.
The Reds scored another two-out run in the seventh against Pedro Baez on a double by Tucker Barnhart and a triple by Billy Hamilton to make it 3-1.
And the Reds scored another two-out run in the eighth against Daniel Hudson when Gennett homered into the right field bullpen. All four Reds runs came with two outs and Gennett drove in three of his team’s four runs.
Once again the Reds bullpen was untouchable. Dylan Floro, nearly perfect since his call-up from Class AAA Louisville, pitched a 1-2-3 sixth. Wandy Peralta followed Floro with 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Raisel Iglesias closed it with 1 1/3 scoreless, striking out the side in the ninth inning.
The Reds came into the game with eight straight losses to the Dodgers and were 2-and-17 in their last 19 games against LA.
The injury-riddled and struggling Dodgers, 16-and-21, were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners, all in the first three innings.
Despite their early problems against Buehler, the Reds finished with nine hits that included three hits by Gennett (single, double, home run) and two singles by Joey Votto.
Before the game the Reds sent pitcher Brandon Finnegan to Class AAA Louisville. He was scheduled to start Friday night’s game, but his spot will be taken by Matt Harvey, the pitcher the Reds acquired Wednesday when they traded Devin Mesoraco to the New York Mets.