Reds rally past Dodgers after blowing big lead
CINCINNATI — The six-run lead had just vanished on one swing. The small crowd of 12,965 was booing. The Cincinnati Reds were facing yet another discouraging ending.
A light-hitting shortstop who got into the game in a late double-switch made it turn out all right.
Paul Janish singled home the tiebreaking run in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night, and the Cincinnati Reds blew a six-run lead before rallying to an 11-9 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers that broke their five-game losing streak.
Matt Kemp hit a three-run homer in the eighth that tied it 9-all and put the onus on an LA bullpen that has been a big problem. Ramon Troncoso (1-1) walked two before Janish singled with two outs, a ball hit hard enough to clear the infield without going much farther.
“He’s got one of the better sinkers in the game,” said Janish, a .205 career hitter. “I was able to put it in a location where nobody could get it. Placement is everything.”
Mike Lincoln (1-0) got the final out that ended the Dodgers’ comeback in the eighth. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his fifth save in six tries, extending Cincinnati’s penchant for dramatic wins. All six Reds victories have come off rallies in their final at-bat.
“It seems like you have to work hard for all of them around here,” manager Dusty Baker said.
Usually, the Dodgers are at their best against the Reds, going 22-5 against Cincinnati since 2006. It’s their best winning percentage against any team during that span, according to STATS LLC.
This time, they couldn’t overcome Chad Billingsley’s early meltdown. The Dodgers (6-7) have yet to move above .500 this season even though they’ve got one of the majors’ best offenses.
“It continues to impress me even though we’ve done it on a regular basis,” manager Joe Torre said. “We’re going to score runs. We just need to limit the opposition.”
The Reds learned before the game that right-hander Edinson Volquez got a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned fertility substance. The punishment won’t hurt the Reds — Volquez is coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery and won’t be ready to pitch until late July, after the suspension ends.
Homer Bailey, one of the young pitchers counted on to steady the rotation while Volquez is gone, got off to a poor start. The 23-year-old right-hander had a 31-pitch first inning, when the Dodgers loaded the bases with the help of a pair of walks and Casey Blake doubled for a 3-0 lead.
Blake also tripled home a run in the sixth, when the Dodgers knocked Bailey out of the game with Cincinnati ahead 9-5 lead.
The Reds’ rotation has yet to get a victory 14 games into the season. Bailey saw his chance for the breakthrough victory slip away when Masset gave up four runs in the eighth to tie it.
“I’m not very big on personal stats,” Bailey said. “As long as we get the win when I’m out there, that’s what’s important.”
The Reds appeared to be in control after Billingsley’s early meltdown. They scored six runs in the second, which started with Brandon Phillips’ homer and was extended by Billingsley’s wild throw to first base on Bailey’s sacrifice attempt. Joey Votto’s two-run homer made it 9-3 in the fourth.
Billingsley lasted a season-low three innings, giving up seven hits and seven runs.
“He wasn’t very good,” Torre said. “He threw a lot of balls in the middle of the plate, and you saw the result. We’re going to have to figure it out, that’s all I can say.
“He certainly has too good of stuff to get cuffed around like that.”
Billingsley was more upbeat about how he pitched.
“Everything felt good today,” he said. “It was an offensive day, as you could tell. Honestly, I don’t know. I was throwing quality pitches. You have these days.”
Manny Ramirez was back in the Dodgers’ lineup after starting the last two games on the bench because of a tight right calf. He had no trouble running out a double in the sixth inning.
NOTES: Dodgers RH reliever Jon Link made his major league debut, threw two hitless innings and was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. RH Ronald Belisario is expected to be activated before Wednesday’s game. .. 3B Scott Rolen was back in the Reds’ lineup after missing three games with a sore back. He had three hits. … Hall of Famer Joe Morgan visited Reds manager Dusty Baker before the game. Pete Rose watched the game from the stands.