CINCINNATI -- Every time the Dodgers start to roll downhill, they blow a tire.
After winning four of the first five games of this road trip, they lost two in a row in Cincinnati, dropping Thursday’s day game 4-1.
They’re starting to feel the effects of some poorly timed injuries. Without Hanley Ramirez, who was resting a sore right shoulder, the Dodgers fielded a ragtag lineup that dropped off a cliff after Andre Ethier and it cost them in a pivotal seventh inning.
How it happened: Zack Greinke looked wobbly early. Skip Schumaker blooped a single to center and then Todd Frazier (home run) and Joey Votto (double) hit rockets to put the Dodgers in an immediate 2-0 hole. But Greinke got the wheels back on and dominated the second through sixth innings.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers made scant headway against Alfredo Simon, a journeyman having a surprisingly good season. They had some chances late, especially in the seventh, but squandered them. The Dodgers couldn’t score after getting runners at first and third with nobody out in the seventh.
Brandon League, who seems to pitch well unless it's a close game, allowed a couple of eighth-inning runs to give the Dodgers little chance of rallying.
Hits: The Dodgers have missed Juan Uribe, but it could have been far worse. Justin Turner has played solid defense and hit about as well as the team would have expected from Uribe, maybe a little better. He has reached base safely in 16 of his last 18 games. He sparked the Dodgers’ only early action with a one-out single in the first, eventually scoring on Matt Kemp's bloop hit to center field. Turner was a low-risk, minor-league signing and he has been a nice pickup.
Misses: There were some iffy managerial moves in the seventh inning. The Dodgers had runners at first and third with nobody out and a couple of weak hitters, Tim Federowicz and Miguel Rojas, due to bat in front of Greinke. Don Mattingly let them both hit rather than use Hanley Ramirez to pinch hit and neither could bring the runner in from third. Then, with two outs, he elected to pinch hit for Greinke though he had thrown only 72 pitches and had cruised from the second through sixth inning. Pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke struck out.
Stat of the game: The Dodgers are on a roll with their challenges. They asked for a replay on a play involving Brandon Phillips at first base and got it overturned. That was their eighth overturned call in their last 10 challenges. Overall, they’re 9-for-14.
Up next: The Dodgers begin a six-game homestand Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 3.17 ERA) opposing Chase Anderson (5-0, 3.14) at 7:10 p.m. The Dodgers have the second-worst home record (13-19) in the National League. Arizona has the worst.