McCoy: Reds Put The Broom To LA With Three-Game Sweep

By Hal McCoy

When the Los Angeles Dodgers landed Thursday at Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati International Airport, the baseball world expected them to put the Cincinnati Reds out of their early-season misery.

That would be everybody but the inhabitants of the Reds clubhouse, where confidence swirls despite 18 losses in their previous 21 games.

Instead, it was the Reds pushing the vaunted Dodgers into the Ohio River, where they drowned under three straight defeats.

The Reds completed a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon in Great American Ball Park, a rain-interrupted 4-1 victory.

And it was LA’s fifth straight defeat, its first five-game losing streak since before COVID-19 disrupted the world — in April of 2019.

For the Reds, it was another Bullpen Day, something they did on May 16 in Dodger Stadium, a 7-2 Reds victory.

In that one Brent Suter started and faced three batters. Then six pitchers followed. The shining light, though, was Nick Martinez — five innings, no runs, one hit.

Suter started again Sunday and once again faced three hitters. Martinez was the fourth pitcher used in LA, but this time Martinez followed Suter and the results were the same.

Martinez pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up no runs, one hit, walked nobody and struck out three. That’s 9 1/3 scoreless innings against one of baseball’s scariest lineups.

were able to scratch some runs across. It’s a great feeling any time you can get a sweep.

“We had a great game plan and (catcher Luke) Maile guided me through it,” said Martinez in a post-game interview with Bally SportsOhio. “Our boys took care of it early and we’ve just our foot on the gas.

“Against guys like this, there is not a lot of room for error,” he added aftter making no errors in command and execution. “It brings aa level of confidence and brings you game to the next level.”

With a dire weather forecast, the game’s scheduled 1:40 start was moved back to 12:10. It was foreboding because when the game began, it was already pouring rain 110 miles to the west, delaying the start of the Indianapolis 500.

So it was paramount for the Reds to score early for two reasons — get ahead by five innings to make it a complete game and knowing the Dodgers are 25-3 when they score first.

It seemed a difficult task because the Reds were facing Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a pitcher the Dodgers are paying $325 million over the next five years. And he was 5-and-1 and the Dodgers had won his last five starts.

The Reds broke through in the third inning, scoring four runs after two outs.

With one out, Jacob Hurtubise singled and Elly De La Cruz walked. Spencer Steer forced Hurtubise at third base for the second out.

Jake Fraley beat an infield hit to fill the bases and bring up Jonathan India, who hit a grand slam home run to break a 5-5 tie during Friday’s 9-6 win over the Dodgers.

Nope. No grand slam. Just a two-run single to right field for a 2-0 lead, followed by a two-run single by designated hitter Nick Martini for the 4-0 margin.

Take the ‘ez’ off Martinez and add a ‘i’ and you get Martini and two hits and two RBI.

“This was awesome, because that’s really a good team, a talented team,t” said Marrini. “Yamamoto had good stuff today and we were able to scratch a few runs across. It’s a great feeling whenver you can get a sweep.”

Mookie Betts led the game with a single, his fifth hit of the series. But the struggling $700 Million Man, Shohei Ohtani, swung at Suter’s first pitch and grounded out. Suter retired Freddie Freeman on a ground ball.

That’s when Martinez took over with Betts on second and retired Teooscar Hernandez on a screeching liner snagged by Reds third baseman Santiago Espinal.

Andy Pages reached first leading off the second when Espinal booted his grounder, but Gavin Lux hit into a double play.

T. Hernandez doubled with two outs in the fourth, but Pages struck out on a full count. That placed the Dodgers at 0 for their last 21 with runners in scoring position.

Then came Cincinnati’s four-run eruption, the Dodgers went down 1-2-3 in the fifth, the Reds were scoreless in the fifth and the tarp was requested.

After waiting an hour and nine minutes, play resumed and Cincinnati’s bullpen continued its domination of the Dodgers.

Carson Speirs took the mound after the delay and provided 3 1/3 innings and encountered no trouble until the ninth.

With one out, Ohtani reached on first baseman Spencer Steer’s error and he took second without a throw.

With Freddie Freeman at the plate, the Dodgers were 0 for 23 with runners in scoring position. Freeman finally ended that with a run-scoring double.

And it was Alexis Diaz time. He finished with the game with pair of full-count strikeouts of T. Hernandez and Andy Pages for his 10th save.

“We’re building that momentum, the team is coming together and it seems like things are clicking,” said Martini, sent back to Class AAA Louisville recently for a refresher course, but quickly called back up.

“The bullpen and everybody was awesome today,” he added. “Baseball is hard and we have a lot of good players and good arms. People go through stretches, but this team is super close and we knew at some point good things were going to come.”

There was some drama in the eighth inning when LA relief pitcher Yohan Ramirez took the mound. On Friday he hit two Reds in one inning. On Sunday, with two outs, he hit Maile and Stuart Fairchild back-to-back. That brought Reds manager David Bell out of the dugout to seek protection for his players from plate umpire Dan Merzel.

But Jacob Hurtubise lined hard to right field to end the inning and any further hi-jinks.

The Reds take their first three-game winning streak since a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers in late April against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals Monday night for the first of three games.

It will be Cincinnati’s first games against a National League Central since they opened the season at home against the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

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