Reds, Ashcraft look to get back in win column against Dodgers

Walker Buehler gets another chance to get back on track when the Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander faces off against the visiting Reds on Saturday (9:10 p.m.).

Buehler (0-1, 7.36 ERA) has made two starts after a nearly two-year absence following elbow surgery. Neither outing has come close to meeting his standard as a former staff ace.

After allowing three runs in four innings against the Miami Marlins on May 6, Buehler gave up three runs over 3 1/3 innings on Sunday to the San Diego Padres.

“For me, I’m not going to put much stock in two outings,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “I think getting him back here, back in competition mode is a good thing, and I think the stuff is good. Again, it’s just more harnessing all that stuff.”

Buehler, who is 1-3 lifetime against the Reds with a 3.22 ERA in six starts, also wasn’t interested in overreacting. He did admit, however, that he will start losing his patience soon.

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“(There are) a few more starts that I’m kind of (going to give) myself a little bit of grace,” Buehler said. “And then after that, that kind of happy-to-be-here thing will go away.”

The Dodgers revamped their roster Friday with third baseman Max Muncy (oblique) going on the injured list and outfielder James Outman optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Outfielder Jason Heyward was activated from the injured list and celebrated with a home run.

The Dodgers also received home runs from Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani to pull off the 7-3 victory over the Reds in the second game of a four-game series.

Tyler Stephenson did his part for the Reds with a home run among his three hits. He is 10-for-17 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs over the past four games.

Tyler Stephenson (center) is 10-for-17 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored over the past four games.
Tyler Stephenson (center) is 10-for-17 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored over the past four games.

Cincinnati will send right-hander Graham Ashcraft (3-2, 4.12) to the mound Saturday. Ashcraft has not given up more than three runs in any of his past four starts, but the Reds lost all of those games. He lasted just three innings in a no-decision against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

The only two starts of Ashcraft’s career against the Dodgers came last season when he went 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA.

The Reds had lost 12 of 14 games when they earned a much-needed 7-2 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday, with their success coming against Dodgers ace Tyler Glasnow. On Friday, they got back in the game with home runs from Stuart Fairchild and Stephenson.

The Dodgers went in front in the seventh inning on Will Smith’s RBI single with two outs against Fernando Cruz and Freddie Freeman scored on a wild pitch. Heyward’s home run supplied some insurance in the eighth inning.

“We battled back and were able to tie it and the one inning,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Smith, who is a great hitter, was able to get a base hit up the middle, ready to hit the first-pitch fastball. That inning was the difference of the game.”

The bullpen stumble came a day after the Reds used seven pitchers to defeat the Dodgers. The group had to cover three more innings Friday.

With a 3-5 record on a 10-game road trip, the Reds need to win the next two games to break even on the three-city journey.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati Reds send Graham Ashcraft against Walker Buehler in Game 3 of series with Los Angeles Dodgers