Lowe (7-10) struck out five and got 16 groundball outs before the blister on his thumb that he had been pitching with since the fourth inning chased him after 97 pitches.
“This is something I’ve had for four years, unfortunately, and that’s why I didn’t go out for the ninth inning,” Lowe said. “Three more outs wasn’t worth ripping it up even more, so you just take care of it for the next four days and look forward to Saturday. If I had a no-hitter, I could go back out there in the ninth.”
Lowe allowed just two flyouts, both by rookie Edwin Encarnacion. Cincinnati got its only hit when Rich Aurilia singled sharply through the left side on a sinker with two outs in the fifth. Steve Schmoll worked a perfect ninth to finish it.
“The way Lowe pitched, I wouldn’t say he was nasty, but he pitched a great game,” Aurilia said. “He pretty much hit his spots most of the night, kept the ball down and got a lot of groundball outs like he usually does. He got a lot of guys out on the first couple of pitches, which was probably key for him because it kept his momentum going.”
Lowe, who signed a $36 million, four-year contract with the Dodgers after winning the clincher in Boston’s first World Series title since 1918, has won consecutive starts for only the second time this season. He was 0-5 in his previous seven outings with a 5.77 ERA.
“You can’t bury your head in the sand and think it’s going to turn around on its own,” said Lowe, who made an adjustment with the help of pitching coach Jim Colborn. “There were some things that we definitely noticed, and I’m to blame because I didn’t try to work on it earlier.”
The Reds, who lead the NL in runs and homers, got their only other baserunner in the first when Adam Dunn drew a one-out walk. It was the first base on balls Lowe allowed in a span of three starts.
“I’ve always said that at this level, hitters will tell you how good your stuff is,” said Lowe, who threw a no-hitter for the Red Sox against Tampa Bay in April 2002.
“When you can have a lineup like this consistently hit the ball on the ground, you feel like you’ve pitched a good game. Even though I felt like I was in a pretty good groove, I could never relax because that offense could score some serious runs.”
It was the second time this season that the Reds were held to one hit. On June 14 at Boston, Ryan Freel singled in the sixth inning against David Wells, who combined with Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke on a 7-0 victory. The last one-hitter by the Dodgers came on July 7, 2004, when Kazuhisa Ishii beat Arizona 11-0.
Aaron Harang (6-9) lost for the seventh time in nine decisions, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander beat the Rockies and Cubs in his first two starts following the All-Star break.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with none out in the second on singles by Olmedo Saenz and Ricky Ledee and a walk to Jason Phillips. Repko drove an 0-2 pitch to the alley in right-center, scoring all three. Phillips would have been an easy out at home, but rookie shortstop Felipe Lopez hesitated after getting the relay from Ken Griffey Jr., and Phillips got his hand across the plate just before Jason LaRue’s tag.
“With the bases loaded, I needed to do something to try to contribute—at least drive the ball deep so we could get a sacrifice fly,” said Repko, who was 1-for-15 during the Dodgers’ 3-3 road trip. “I had two strikes on me and I was looking away. Luckily, Griffey wasn’t playing on that side and it just kept carrying. I was surprised to see it one-hop the wall.”
Phillips, who went 3-for-17 on the road trip, made it 4-0 in the third with a run-scoring single.
Harang went to 0-2 on Repko again in the fourth before hitting him on the left arm with a pitch. Repko was stranded at third when Cesar Izturis lined out. … Cincinnati 1B Sean Casey grounded into his major league-high 24th double play in the first inning. Last season, he grounded into 16 double plays in 571 at-bats. … Only 16 of Phillips’ 44 RBIs have come at Dodger Stadium. He and Saenz each had three hits. … The Reds are 11-32 on the road. Only Colorado and Tampa Bay have worse winning percentages away from home. … Dodgers leadoff batter Oscar Robles was 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 20 at-bats. … The Reds moved RHP Ben Weber’s rehab assignment from Class-A Dayton to Double-A Chattanooga.