Sweet relief: Bullpen battles, comes up clutch

Dodgers use five relievers down stretch to get out of jams in skid-busting win

Sweet relief: Bullpen battles, comes up clutch

CINCINNATI -- It was almost as if manager Don Mattingly couldn't wait to get into his beleaguered bullpen, removing starting pitcher Alex Wood after 5 2/3 shutout innings.

But he had sounded a tone all day about the season starting anew, and it sort of looked that way as five relievers pitched the last 3 1/3 innings of a 5-1 win over the Reds that snapped the Dodgers' five-game losing streak Tuesday.

Although Chris Hatcher did allow an inherited runner to score on Todd Frazier's RBI double, and Juan Nicasio returned from the disabled list to create a two-out, bases-loaded mess, big efforts were turned in by J.P. Howell, Luis Avilan and Kenley Jansen.

Dodgers activate Nicasio from disabled list

Howell followed Hatcher and put out the sixth-inning rally by getting Jay Bruce to ground to first, then pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

Howell retires Bruce to end 6th

Avilan bailed out Nicasio by striking out Bruce with what Jimmy Rollins described as a "filthy" breaking ball.

And Jansen rebounded from a blown save Sunday with a perfect ninth inning. Coming into the game, Dodgers relievers had allowed eight runs in 8 2/3 innings on the trip.

"The bullpen pieced it together, and that's a place where we've struggled the second half," said Rollins. "It was good for them to get the job done. Luis' last pitch was filthy and got us out of a sticky situation, the kind we haven't been getting out of."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.