By KEITH JENKINS
CINCINNATI (AP) — Clayton Kershaw pitched seven scoreless innings, Chris Taylor hit his 10th home run of the season and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 on Thursday afternoon.
Kershaw (8-4, 2.95 ERA) scattered five hits, struck out nine and walked two to help Los Angeles snap its four-game losing streak and avoid a three-game series sweep against the Reds, who won the previous two games in walk-off fashion.
Los Angeles improved to 10-3 against Cincinnati dating back to September 2021.
The Dodgers struck first in the third inning, scoring three runs against Reds starter Graham Ashcraft (3-5, 6.78 ERA). The right-hander plunked both James Outman and Mookie Betts. Outman later came around to score on a base hit by Freddie Freeman.
Ashcraft walked the bases loaded for David Peralta, who brought home two more on a line drive to center field. Ashcraft was pulled after 48 pitches.
Los Angeles seized a 4-0 lead in the fourth on a 401-foot home run to center by Chris Taylor off Cincinnati reliever Fernando Cruz.
The Dodgers added two more runs in the frame, as Austin Barnes doubled in Outman, who reached on a walk, and Barnes crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly by Freeman.
After batting left-handed in his fist two big league games, Elly De La Cruz switched to the other side of the plate to face Kershaw. De La Cruz hit an infield single and then collected his first stolen base in the majors.
De La Cruz faced Kershaw again in the sixth. With runners at the corners and no outs, De La Cruz drew an automatic ball due to a pitch-clock violation by Kershaw. Kershaw then threw three straight strikes, including a nasty breaking ball on the last one, to send De La Cruz swinging back to the dugout.
De La Cruz got one more at-bat in the eighth, this time against reliever Tayler Scott. He struck out swinging on the fifth pitch. The 6-foot-5 slugger finished the day 1 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Dodgers: RHP Tayler Scott was recalled, while RHP Noah Syndergaard was placed on the 15-day injured list with a blister on his right index finger. Manager Dave Roberts said Syndergaard will be out at least “a few weeks” to both heal and get away from baseball to “reset” physically, mentally and emotionally.
Reds: RHP Hunter Greene remains on pace to start Sunday in St. Louis, manager David Bell said. Greene hasn’t pitched since June 1 due to stiffness in his right hip.
Dodgers: Los Angeles heads to Philadelphia on Friday to open a three-game series against the Phillies. RHP Michael Grove (0-2, 8.14 ERA) will lead the Dodgers against LHP Ranger Suárez (1-2, 5.47 ERA) and the defending NL champions.
Reds: RHP Ben Lively (3-3, 3.03 ERA) will get the ball Friday night when Cincinnati begins a three-game set in St. Louis. LHP Jordan Montgomery is scheduled to start for the last-place Cardinals, who are 13-16 at home this season.