On Monday night, Van Slyke did it all in center field. He hit two
home runs, achieved career highs with three hits and four RBIs, and
he even fed sunflower seeds to two ducks who wandered into the
"I'm an animal lover," he said.
Van Slyke hit a three-run home run and a solo shot, and gutsy
performances by starter Dan Haren and the Dodgers bullpen lifted Los
Angeles to a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a
four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
"I know what I'm here for," Van Slyke said of his role as a spare
outfielder. "I don't mind it. It was kind of the same situation last
year when everybody was healthy."
Haren (6-4) allowed five hits and two runs, walked two and struck
out two in 5 1/3 innings to end a streak of three consecutive losing
"He knows who he is as a pitcher," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly
said. "He's going to miss his spots now and then. He's never going
to give in."
Left fielder Ryan Ludwick homered for Cincinnati, which lost for the
third time in four games against the Dodgers this season.
With Mat Latos set to rejoin the Cincinnati rotation from the
disabled list, Monday's outing was an audition of sorts for Tony
Cingrani (2-7). The left-hander allowed six runs on seven hits and
needed 97 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings.
"It's a tough thing," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "When we add
Mat, we'll have 13 major league pitchers for 12 spots. That's not to
say Cingrani won't be part of the process. It's a very difficult
The Dodgers' bullpen extinguished two late Cincinnati scoring
The Reds (29-33) had runners on first and second in the seventh, but
J.P. Howell induced center fielder Billy Hamilton's first career
double-play grounder to end the inning.
Cincinnati then loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth against
Brandon League, who got Ludwick to ground into a 1-2-3 double play
and catcher Brayan Pena to ground out to short to end the inning.
"When I signed with his team, one of the selling points was the
bullpen," Haren said. "The starters feel great giving the ball up to
the bullpen. Those situations tonight were stressful but fun to
After an inning-ending double play helped him escape a first-inning
jam, Cingrani gave up Van Slyke's 439-foot solo home run to
left-center field leading off the second, putting the Dodgers ahead
[to top of second column]
"We ask him to be dangerous," Mattingly said of Van Slyke. "He's
showing his value. He sneaks up on you. He has a pretty good idea
what he's doing at the plate."
Twice Cincinnati missed home runs by a few feet in the early going,
including shortstop Zack Cozart's blast to left in the second, which
required a 34-second crew chief review to confirm it was foul.
Ludwick's fifth home run cut the Reds' deficit to 3-2 run in the
Two walks off Cingrani in the fifth preceded Van Slyke's second
homer, a three-run shot that gave Los Angeles (34-31) a 6-2 lead.
"I'm just trying to pitch," Cingrani said when asked if the pressure
is mounting. "It's not like I'm out there thinking, 'Oh, my God.'
I'm just trying to give the team the best opportunity to win. It's a
NOTES: Dodgers CF Scott Van Slyke had his second career multi-home
run game. The other came May 17, 2013, at Atlanta. ...Dodgers RF
Yasiel Puig returned to the starting lineup after missing Sunday's
game with a strained left hip flexor. He went 1-for-4 with a walk
and a run. ... Los Angeles 2B Dee Gordon did not start Monday's game
after sitting out Sunday due to right hip discomfort. He beat out an
infield hit as a pinch hitter in the ninth. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos
threw 81 pitches and allowed one run on four hits, and 1B Joey Votto
went 1-for-3 in their rehab starts for Triple-A Louisville on Monday
night at Pawtucket before the game was postponed by rain after 5 2/3
innings. ... The Dodgers' .579 winning percentage at Great American
Ball Park is second best by any National League team behind the New
York Mets' .600 mark.
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