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Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Reds 5, Dodgers 0

By Mark Saxon

CINCINNATI -- The Los Angeles Dodgers went down fighting, or at least arguing.

Trying for their first four-game winning streak of the season, the Dodgers got into all sorts of disputes with plate umpire Seth Buckminster during a 5-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. In the end, they proved defenseless against both the umpire, who ejected Matt Kemp in the second inning, and pitcher Johnny Cueto, who struck out 12 Dodgers in six innings.

The Dodgers rallied, loading the bases in the seventh inning, but pinch hitter Hanley Ramirez -- held out of the starting lineup because of a sore right shoulder -- hit into an inning-ending double play against ex-Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton.

How it happened: Cueto, who has a deceptive delivery during which he turns his back on hitters, has been as dominant as any pitcher in the National League this season, and he was at his best Wednesday. He struck out five batters in a row in the fourth and fifth inning. Hyun-Jin Ryu seemed frustrated with Buckminster at times and had a blowup third inning that gave the Dodgers little chance of winning against Cueto.

Hits: Despite playing in a hitter-friendly home ballpark, the Reds came into the game ranked 29th in the majors in runs scored. But they got a glimpse of the kind of offense they envisioned in the third inning. Speedster Billy Hamilton drew a two-out walk and stole second base. After Ryu walked Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, in his second game since coming off the disabled list, hit a two-run double to left field and Brandon Phillips blooped an RBI single to right.

Misses: On this trip alone, Yasiel Puig has taken video of his first experience with snow (in the Colorado mountains), met race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and filmed a TV segment at the Cincinnati zoo. Sleep doesn't seem to be high on Puig's agenda. Who knows if his frenetic pace will slow him down, but he has cooled off a bit at the plate, at long last. Puig struck out three times and is 4-for-19 on this trip.

Stat of the game: Puig's streak of reaching base came to an end. Though it included one game in which he reached only on an error, he had been a baserunner in 40 consecutive games before failing to reach Wednesday night.

Up next: The Dodgers go for the series win at a very early hour, 9:35 a.m. PT, Thursday. Zack Greinke (8-2, 2.62 ERA), who has the best road winning percentage in the National League since 2013, pitches for the Dodgers while Cincinnati counters with Alfredo Simon (8-3, 3.15).