Dominant Kazmir lets bats have an off night

Dominant Kazmir lets bats have an off night

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' bats ran cold Wednesday night, hitting just 3-for-27 with one walk against the Reds.

Luckily, Scott Kazmir pitched well enough that it didn't matter. The left-hander allowed just one run on four hits and struck out a season-high 12 batters over six innings, leading the Dodgers to a 3-1 win that completed a series sweep of the Reds.

"We hit some balls hard, but didn't have a whole lot to show for it tonight," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Fortunately for us, we scored more than they did."

Kazmir's command dramatically improved since his last outing. He went from issuing a career-high seven walks against the Cardinals last week to walking two and coming within one strikeout of his personal best, set on Aug. 25, 2007, with Tampa Bay. It was the third time in his career that he totaled 12 or more strikeouts.

Roberts on 3-1 win over Reds

"It was really dominant," Roberts said of Kazmir's effort. "We needed him to rebound, and he did just that."

Kazmir has now allowed three or fewer earned runs in three of his last four starts. He struck out at least six batters in each of those outings.

"The rhythm is getting a lot better with all my pitches," Kazmir said. "Once I have that fastball and I'm able to locate it, I'm able to throw my other pitches off of it."

Kazmir's performance was a positive sign for a rotation that has been seeking stability behind dominant ace Clayton Kershaw. Against the Reds, Dodgers starters Kershaw, Mike Bolsinger and Kazmir combined to allow just three earned runs across 20 2/3 innings. They caught Cincinnati at a good time, however, as the club is struggling through a 10-game losing skid.

"You can't take any team lightly," Kazmir said. "Even though they're going through a tough stretch, they're still a big league team. Good hitters up there, you have to treat them like that."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.