Dodgers 7, Reds 3
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Brad Penny is pitching like he wants to start a second consecutive All-Star game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ right-hander allowed a run and four hits over 6 1-3 innings Saturday night in a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and kept his ERA at a major league-best 1.39. He has given up just one run in 19 1-3 innings over his last three starts.
“He’s one of those guys, just like when I was with Arizona when Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling took the mound,” Dodgers left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. “Your team seems to have a lot of confidence in a guy like that because the other team knows going in that they’re going to have a tough day.”
Penny (5-0) struck out four and retired 17 consecutive batters after giving up a one-out walk in the first to Josh Hamilton. The only run against Penny was an RBI single by Ken Griffey Jr. right before the walk to Hamilton.
“There are other guys like Zito and Clemens, established guys who have been around for a long time. And Brad should be right there with him,” Gonzalez said.
In his previous outing against the Florida Marlins, Penny became the first Dodgers pitcher to strike out 14 batters and not allow a walk since Sept. 9, 1965, when Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles.
“My main goal tonight was not to try to strike out everybody after a game like that. I just want to throw strikes and keep my pitch count down,” Penny said. “A lot of it has to do with my team getting runs and the defense behind me. Everything’s working out for me right now, but it’s a humbling game and it can change in five days, so you’ve just got to do the best you can to keep the team in the game.”
Kyle Lohse (1-4) lost his fourth straight start, allowing six runs and eight hits over four innings in his Dodger Stadium debut. The Chico, Calif. native has a 6.56 ERA over his last four outings.
The NL West-leading Dodgers tied the score at 1 in the second with the first of Andre Ethier’s two sacrifice flies. They scored five runs in the fourth, on two bloop singles, an infield hit, and three walks—one to Penny with the bases loaded.
“No excuses. You can’t walk the pitcher in that situation,” Lohse said.
“Walking the pitcher is the worst thing you can do—even without the bases loaded,” said Penny, who has drawn just three walks in eight big league seasons. “That’s a guy you’ve got to count on to get an out.”
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez charged Rafael Furcal’s dribbler and had no play at any base as Gonzalez scored. Juan Pierre followed with a two-run bloop single to center and Nomar Garciaparra capped the rally with an RBI single—the only hard-hit ball in the inning.
“I could understand it if I was leaving the ball down the middle and they were hitting it hard, but I was working the corners, making quality pitches and keeping it down,” Lohse said. “But they got a couple of bloop hits and a ground ball that nobody could get to. I don’t think I’ve had a big inning like that all year.”
Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning double and scored when Griffey went the other way against the infield shift and grounded a single through the vacated hole at shortstop. The Reds have lost nine of their last 11.
Los Angeles has won eight straight against Cincinnati and 14 of the last 18 meetings. The Dodgers have won back-to-back games for only the second time since starting the season 13-5.
Penny has faced 206 batters this season without allowing a home run, making him the only pitcher that has faced at least 100 batters without giving up one. … Griffey’s RBI was the 1,628th of his career, tying Harold Baines for 20th place all-time. … Phillips’ streak is the longest by a Reds hitter since Griffey hit in 15 straight last August. Only four streaks in franchise history were longer—Pete Rose’s NL-record 44 games in 1978, Hal Morris (29 in 1996), Sean Casey (21 in 2000) and Austin Kearns (16 in 2003). … Reds C David Ross threw out Juan Pierre trying to steal second in the third inning, and is now 8-for-14 in that department this season. … LHP Bobby Livingston will be called up from Triple-A Louisville on Sunday to make his first big league start and fourth appearance. He is filling in for Eric Milton, who went on the 15-day DL on Wednesday.