Grove struggles, Dodgers drop series finale 9-0

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Reds launched three home runs against Michael Grove en route to a 9-0 win.

LOS ANGELES — With 23 year old Emmet Sheehan turning in a stellar performance in last night’s win for LA, the Dodgers looked to another rookie pitcher in hopes of clinching the home series against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. The results, however, would not be the same as the Dodgers dropped the final game of the three game series 9-0.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Homerun hat trick

Unlike last night’s game in which Cincinnati didn’t score a run until the sixth, the Reds sent only two batters to the plate before grabbing an early lead from the Dodgers in the first. Elly De La Cruz led off the inning with a single to right off Michael Grove’s first pitch of the game. TJ Friedl stepped up to the plate as the next batter and drove a ball to the gap in right-center to score De La Cruz for a 1-0 lead. Grove then plunked Matt McLain to put Cincinnati runners on first and second before Jake Fraley hit an RBI single to score Friedl. Spencer Steer then brought home the third run for the Reds on an RBI groundout. After spotting Cincinnati with a three run lead, Grove escaped the disastrous start by striking out Joey Votto and Christian Encarnacion-Strand back-to-back to end the inning. Despite limiting the first inning damage, the Reds’ offensive production was just getting started as Cincinnati left the yard three times on Sunday. De La Cruz began the home run barrage in the second inning with a laser beam solo shot into the right field bleachers. In the third, McLain lead off with a wall-scraping solo homer that cleared the left field fence before Votto launched a two-run home run into Cincinnati’s bullpen for a 7-0 advantage over Los Angeles. Cincinnati capped off the scoring with Friedl’s RBI single in the sixth and Votto’s RBI double in the ninth.

Grove settles down after shaky start

Despite surrendering eight earned runs to Cincinnati, Grove managed to last through six innings of work. The right-hander struck out a career high ten batters while allowing only one walk with most of the young pitcher’s strikeouts on the afternoon resulting from great command over his breaking ball. The loss now drops the rookie’s record to 2-3 on the season and boosts his ERA up to 6.75.

Defensive gems

Shortstop Miguel Rojas and centerfielder James Outman both denied Cincinnati batters of a hit in the top of the fifth inning with dynamic defensive plays. The first out of the inning came on a sliding back-handed snag deep in the hole between second and third from Rojas to retire Steer at first with a snap throw to Freddie Freeman. The very next batter, Votto, hit a deep fly ball that was headed over the center field fence before Outman made a well-timed leap and extended his glove over the wall to deny the 17 year veteran of his second homer of the game.

With the Dodgers’ loss, they now stand at 59-45 with National League West rivals San Francisco and Arizona being within four games of first place. Los Angeles takes a much needed day off on Monday before welcoming the last place Oakland Athletics to Dodger Stadium for a three game series starting on Tuesday at 7:10 PM PST.