Dodgers erupt early, hold off rallying Reds

Dodgers erupt early, hold off rallying Reds

CINCINNATI -- The Dodgers homered three times in a five-run fourth inning Wednesday night to chase rookie starter David Holmberg, and they held on for a 7-4 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

With the victory, the Dodgers remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Giants, who beat the Cubs, 4-2. Since Aug. 13, the Dodgers are 5-5, all of the wins against the Reds.

Scott Van Slyke led off the fourth with a home run, and the Dodgers added two-run shots by A.J. Ellis and Yasiel Puig. In two starts against the Dodgers, Holmberg has allowed 13 runs and six homers, two by Puig.

Ellis taking hot bat back to bench

"I struggled a little with consistency in the strike zone, and the command is not really there right now," Holmberg said. "I need to be more aggressive with hitters and get quick outs."

Dodgers' bullpen rewarding Mattingly's faith

Dodgers winning starter Brett Anderson (8-8) retired 11 consecutive batters at one point and had a two-hit shutout through six innings, but he was charged with three unearned runs after second baseman Chase Utley's error in the seventh. Anderson has beaten the Reds for his last two victories, taking this rematch of an 8-3 win over Holmberg in Los Angeles on Aug.15.

Bruce reaches on error

"He was just good all night," manager Don Mattingly said of Anderson. "He was changing speeds, efficient, tonight he didn't walk guys, he worked quick and got outs."

With Pedro Villarreal's stellar 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief keeping the Reds in position to pressure the Dodgers' bullpen, Cincinnati scored in the eighth inning on Brandon Phillips' RBI single off Juan Nicasio, but Luis Avilan struck out Jay Bruce with runners in scoring position for the second consecutive night to preserve the lead. Kenley Jansen earned the save.

Jansen notches the save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hernandez starts it:
The five-run fourth inning blew it open, but Kiké Hernandez got the scoring started for the Dodgers with a bases-loaded RBI single in the second inning, the first of his three hits. Hernandez is 25-for-65 (.385) since July 24.

Hernandez's RBI single

Ran out of a rally: Down, 1-0, in the second inning, the Reds challenged Anderson with a pair of one-out singles by Todd Frazier and Bruce before the rally got away. Ivan De Jesus Jr. struck out before Frazier was caught stealing at third base by catcher A.J. Ellis to end the inning scoreless.

Ellis nabs Frazier

Costly error helps Reds: With two outs in the Reds' seventh following a Frazier single, Bruce lofted a broken-bat liner to short right field. Playing back in a shift, Utley ran to catch the ball but dropped it for an error. It opened the door for three runs as De Jesus hit an RBI single, followed by Pena's two-run single into center field that ended Anderson's night.

Pena's two-run single

Unique double: In a moment that underscores the misfortune the Reds have often found this season, Hernandez hit a broken-bat ground ball to shortstop to begin the sixth inning. Eugenio Suarez had to jump to avoid the jagged bat barrel, but Hernandez's roller went through in the process and stopped in left field for a bizarre double. He would be left stranded on third base, however.

"That play, I've never seen that before. That was crazy," Suarez said. "The ball followed the bat. I tried to look for the ball, but I couldn't catch it because the bat was right to me. It scared me, too. The bat was at me harder than the ball. It came at me too hard." More >

Hernandez's bat-and-ball trick

QUOTABLE
"Maybe Kersh needs to speak profoundly [about playing with a sense of urgency or panic] a little earlier on. We're 2-0 after he said that, let's see how we do the rest of the way." -- Anderson, on Clayton Kershaw's wakeup call message from Sunday

Anderson's quality start

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers, who lead the league in homers, hit three home runs in the same inning for the fifth time this year.

Cut4: Puig homers, delivers mini-bat flip

WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Starting pitcher Zack Greinke will again team with catcher Yasmani Grandal, who is expected to return after missing three games with a bruised left shoulder in the 9:35 a.m. PT series finale vs. the Reds on Thursday. Also expected in the starting lineup is Joc Pederson, who lost his starting center-field job to Hernandez. More >

Reds: Anthony DeSclafani, who dueled well vs. Greinke in their Aug. 16 game at Los Angeles, will start Thursday's 12:35 p.m. ET finale. DeSclafani gave up back-to-back fifth-inning solo homers in the previous meeting -- including one by Greinke -- for a 2-1 loss.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.