CINCINNATI -- Chase Utley and Julio Urias established the point early that Sunday would be a better day for the Dodgers. Utley gave his team its first lead of the series when he led off the game with a home run and played a part in two other runs in a 4-0 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. That snapped a three-game losing streak for Los Angeles while also ending Cincinnati's five-game winning streak.
The victory, combined with the Giants' 2-0 loss Sunday night against the Mets, lifted the Dodgers back into first place, a half-game ahead of their National League West rivals, who come to Los Angeles for a three-game series starting Tuesday.
"I think the thing today with Juli is he was getting his breaking ball over for a strike, keeping the ball down in the strike zone," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He and [catcher Yasmani Grandal] had a really nice rhythm today, and Yasi did a nice job navigating him through that game."
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani took his second loss of the season after he gave up four earned runs and eight hits over seven innings with one intentional walk and six strikeouts. The Dodgers, who were outscored by a 20-3 margin in the first two games of the series to lose their lead in the NL West standings, pounced quick with Utley's homer to right field. And in the third inning, Utley added an RBI single and scored on Corey Seager's RBI single that extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Joc Pederson provided a sacrifice fly in the sixth that scored Adrian Gonzalez. Three Dodgers relievers, capped by Kenley Jansen in a non-save situation, protected the cushion with three innings and three hits. Overall, the Reds were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.
"We just didn't square up many baseballs today," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We've been doing that. We had a nice prodigious run here for a good portion of this homestand. Today we just weren't able to string together a lot of hits and a lot of well-hit baseballs. They were just a little better today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Disco's Utley beginning: Utley's leadoff blast traveled 399 feet and came off the bat at 100 mph, as measured by Statcast™. All 11 of Utley's homers this season have come out of the leadoff spot, and it was his third career homer to lead off a game. Utley finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs, giving him a hit in six of his last eight games. Over that stretch, Utley is hitting .324 with three homers and eight RBIs.
"For a starter, it's what you need," Urias said via Spanish language translator Jesus Quinonez. "You can't win the game by yourself. You need your team to help you and that's why it's a team victory. I'm grateful for the team being able to help me out."
K'd looking: The Reds had a chance to get back into the game in the seventh against reliever Joe Blanton. Eugenio Suarez hit a leadoff double and went to third base on a passed ball before Tucker Barnhart earned a two-out walk. Scorching hot-hitting Joey Votto, who had been given a rest from the starting lineup, was summoned to pinch-hit. In a 1-2 count, Votto looked at a Blanton slider for a called strike three to end the inning. The one plate appearance ended Votto's on-base streak at 15 games.
Gonzo streaking: With a single to lead off the sixth, Gonzalez extended his season-high hitting streak to 14 games. Over that span, he's hitting .400 with three homers and 11 RBIs. Seager, meanwhile, is in the midst of his fourth double-digit hitting streak of the season.
Another Hamilton highlight: With runners on second and third and no outs in the Dodgers' sixth, Josh Reddick was robbed of an RBI hit by Hamilton. Reddick hit a fly ball to short center field that looked like it might drop, but Hamilton made a long run in and a nice diving catch for the out. Los Angeles could not advance on the play, although Pederson's sacrifice fly would come on the next play.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the bottom of the sixth, Urias nearly had his second pickoff of the game, this time on Brandon Phillips. Phillips was ruled to have beat the tag, and the Dodgers challenged. Without definitive evidence, the call on the field was ruled to stand as called.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: The Dodgers have a chance to split the four-game series against the Reds in the wraparound game on Monday. Scott Kazmir takes the ball for L.A. in the 9:35 a.m. PT game looking to eat some innings -- in his last three outings, Kazmir has been unable to record an out in the seventh inning.
Reds: The four-game series concludes with a wraparound finale at 12:35 p.m. ET Monday. Homer Bailey will be making his fifth start since returning from Tommy John surgery. The Reds have won three of his first four starts.