Reds Take Second Game of Series 4-0

Dodgers hitters were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and another night of solid pitching was wasted as Cincinnati handed them their third loss in a row 4-0 in front of 48,787 at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers have scored only four runs in their last three games but remained two games ahead of the second-place San Diego Padres in the National League West. However the Dodgers maintain the best record in the National League at 22-13.

Perez (2-2) pitched well in eight innings, giving up six hits and four runs — three earned — striking out five and walking one. Trailing 2-0, he gave up a two-run homer to Ken Griffey Jr. in the eighth after committing an error in the fifth that allowed the Reds to score another run.

"I pitched good. The pitch to Griffey was a very good pitch because it was a fastball off the plate. He has enough power to hit it out of the ballpark. But I felt pretty good. I mean, eight innings, three earned runs. That's pretty good."--Odalis Perez.

It's not as if the Dodgers didn't have chances. They had at least one baserunner in eight of the nine innings and runners in scoring position five times, lastly in the ninth.

In the third inning the Reds' leadoff hitter lined a shot down the right-field line and toward a security guard seated on the field. The guard got up and, when he attempted to lift his chair out of the way, his jacket fell and the ball got caught on it.

Right fielder Shawn Green waved his arms as he approached but the ball was in play and the runner moved all the way to third. On the next pitch, a ground ball to shortstop Cesar Izturis scored the first run.

With two outs and a runner on second in the fifth, Perez underhanded the ball to first, hit the batter, the ball rolled into right field and the runner from second scored.

Down, 2-0, the Dodgers' best chance to rally came in the seventh. Robin Ventura and Alex Cora walked and Perez bunted right in front of the plate and the catcher fired to third to snare the lead runner. Leadoff batter Jason Grabowski hit into a 4-6-3 double play and the inning was over.

The Dodgers, for the first time this season, have lost three consecutive games and have scored a total of four runs.

Reds, who by winning the first two games have become just the third team this season to win a series from the Dodgers (22-13).

Dodger Blue Notes--Tanyon Sturtze, 3-0 with a 2.50 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Las Vegas, was traded to the New York Yankees for either cash or a player to be named. General Manager Paul DePodesta said it shows the Dodgers' commitment to the best interests of veteran players. ... Juan Encarnacion was again not in the starting lineup and not available for any duty, Encarnacion had an MRI on his sore left shoulder Friday and it was negative. ... Paul Lo Duca went into the weekend leading the National League in hitting at .386. Thoughts of a batting title comes to mind but the only catchers to survive the pounding back of the plate and win a championship were Bubbles Hargrave, who hit .353 with the Cincinnati Reds in 1926, and Ernie Lombardi, who did it by batting .342 with the Reds in 1938 and .330 with the Boston Braves in 1942. Mike Piazza made a serious run at a title in 1997, when he had an MVP and Triple Crown-caliber type, batting .362 with 40 home runs and 124 runs batted in. But he finished behind Tony Gwynn at .372 and Larry Walker at .366. Mike Lieberthal and Ivan Rodriguez are the only big league catchers with more hits than Lo Duca in his three-plus seasons, and no one is harder to strike out. This year, Lo Duca is striking out only once every 61 plate appearances, the best ratio in the majors. …. Adrian Beltré said the cortisone injection he received Thursday in his left ankle alleviated some of the discomfort he was experiencing from a bone spur but he did not plan to receive another injection "unless it's pain I can't handle." ... Jeremy Giambi continues to recover from the back injuries that plagued him this spring and could report to Las Vegas by the end of the month.