- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Dodgers, who have struggled against quality teams this season, pounded Holmberg's pitches for the second time in two weeks and continued to fatten up on subpar opposition with a 7-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
How it happened: Holmberg, a left-handed pitcher with a modest fastball, has faced the Dodgers twice this season. In those starts, he pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowed 14 hits, including six home runs, walked six batters and struck out one person, pitcher Brett Anderson. The Dodgers struck swiftly in the fourth inning, with Scott Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis and Yasiel Puig all pummeling no-doubt home runs.
Anderson (8-8) pitched well for the Dodgers, breezing into the seventh inning before the wheels started wobbling, thanks in part to a misplay. With two outs and a runner on, Chase Utley dropped Jay Bruce's pop-up for an error as he drifted into right field. After that, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Brayan Pena had RBI hits. Anderson pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing just five hits and walking one. All three of the runs he allowed were unearned.
Things got dicey in the eighth inning for the beleaguered Dodgers bullpen. After a leadoff double and a walk, Brandon Phillips had an RBI single. But Juan Nicasio struck out Todd Frazier with a 94 mph fastball and Luis Avilan, who struck out Bruce in a big spot Tuesday, did it again. This time, he used a 94 mph fastball to accomplish what a breaking pitch had done the night before.
What it means: With the San Francisco Giants suddenly swamped by injuries, the Dodgers have a chance to build their lead. It stands at three games pending San Francisco's night game against the red-hot Chicago Cubs.
Notable: After four days to rest a bruised left shoulder, catcher Yasmani Grandal is tentatively scheduled to return to the Dodgers' lineup Thursday. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly also said Joc Pederson likely will start in center field. Pederson lost his starting center-field job three days ago amid a two-month-long slump. ... Ellis is one of the hottest Dodgers hitters. He is batting .293 with four home runs in his past 13 games. ... Enrique Hernandez hit a routine ground ball to shortstop that turned into a double. Eugenio Suarez had to dodge the fractured head of Hernandez's bat and the ball trickled into shallow left field, with Hernandez hustling to beat De Jesus Jr.'s throw. ... Utley, who has never played a major league game at third base, worked out at the position before the game. The Dodgers might use him sporadically at third when Howie Kendrick returns early next week, but they're not sure if Utley has the arm strength to play there. ... Anderson had a rough night at the plate. He popped up one bunt attempt and fouled another one away to strike out.