Clayton Kershaw was sharp throughout his second start since returning from the 60-day injured list and the Los Angeles Dodgers jumped on Wade Miley early in an 8-5 victory to take the series from the Cincinnati Reds.
Notoriously hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park didn’t play as such through the first two games, but the Dodgers quickly changed that. Will Smith’s solo home run off Miley broke the scoreless tie in the second inning and Gavin Lux delivered a two-run shot.
Then in the third inning, Corey Seager slugged his 10th home run of the season. After Taylor doubled, Lux added to his big day with an RBI single to break the game open.
Lux is 11-for-24 with one double, one triple, one home run and eight RBI since getting recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sept. 10.
Kershaw didn’t face much trouble in his outing as he held the Reds to two hits and collected eight strikeouts over five innings. Kershaw’s patented slider and curveball had plenty of break and regularly got Reds batters to swing and miss.
When they did make contact, one-out singles in the second and third innings were stranded both times. Nick Castellanos’ double in the fourth wound up leading to a run as he advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored when Tyler Stephenson grounded out.
Kershaw retired the final five batters faced, and on top of the results, success was achieved by stretching his pitch count to 74.
With the Dodgers paring down to a four-man rotation this time through, Tony Gonsolin was bumped to appearing out of the bullpen on Sunday.
His first pitch was hit for a home run and the Reds later added an RBI double to knock Gonsolin out after 2.1 innings of work. The relief appearance was a bit of a step backward for the right-hander.
Blake Treinen inherited a baserunner that he allowed to score before getting the Dodgers through the eighth inning with their lead still intact.
L.A. scored two runs in the ninth inning, and Kenley Jansen surrendered a pinch-hit home run to Joey Votto before finishing out the game.
Dodgers postseason outlook
With their win, the Dodgers temporarily are 1.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.
The Giants face the Atlanta Braves at Oracle Park on Sunday afternoon.
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