CINCINNATI (AP) — Anthony DeSclafani is struggling after a strong start.
Chase Utley homered on DeSclafani’s fourth pitch of the game to back 20-year-old Julio Urias, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 Sunday to stop a three-game losing streak.
“I tried attacking,” DeSclafani said. “I’d like to have that pitch back in the first inning. In the third, I got behind guys. I just didn’t make good pitches when I had to. I have to get better at that. This wasn’t good enough. It was a grind. I tried to compete and keep the bullpen out of it.”
DeSclafani gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings. He has lost two of his last three decisions after winning his first six.
“He got us through the seventh,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It’s part of the responsibility of a starting pitcher. When you have guys that fall apart when they give up runs early, if affects the bullpen.”
Eugenio Suarez had three hits for the Reds, who had won their five previous games in their best spurt this season. Cincinnati was last in the NL Central for 98 consecutive days before climbing into fourth place on Saturday.
Utley connected against DeSclafani (7-2) for his third home run of the trip and 11th this season, then had an RBI single in the third and scored on Cory Seager’s hit for a 3-0 lead. Utley homered twice Tuesday at Philadelphia, his former team.
Urias (4-2), who made his big league debut in late May, allowed six hits, struck out six and walked none, throwing 62 of 97 pitches for strikes. He didn’t allow a runner past first base until the sixth inning despite giving up two hits in an inning three times. Urias picked off Jose Peraza at first and got Ivan De Jesus Jr. to ground into a double play.
“He was better than I expected,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He got the breaking ball over early. I stacked the lineup with right-handers and he was able to get it in on them. We didn’t square a lot of balls today.”
Urias credited pitching coach Rick Honeycutt with helping him make an early adjustment.
“During the first inning, the changeup was outside,” he said. “When I came out, I talked with the pitching coach, and he was able to help me fix everything.”
Urias beat Philadelphia in his previous start on Aug. 8, then defeated Pittsburgh in relief five days later.
Joe Blanton, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen each followed with an inning of one-hit relief, and the Dodgers tied the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia for the big league lead in shutouts with 11.
Los Angeles moved into the NL West lead, a half-game ahead of San Francisco after the Giants’ 2-0 home loss to the New York Mets on Sunday night.
After singling in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter on Saturday, Seager singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He is hitting .457 (21 for 46) during the streak. … Suarez is 13 for 26 during a six-game hitting streak and has five doubles in his last five games.
Dodgers: OF Andre Ethier is running at about 75 percent and taking batting practice, manager Dave Roberts said. Ethier broke his right tibia during spring training.
Reds: SS Zack Cozart is wearing a boot on his left foot to help eliminate the soreness he’s felt in his Achilles tendon, a product of overcompensating for the June 2015 season-ending surgery on his right knee.
LHP Scott Kazmir (10-6), Los Angeles’s scheduled starter for Monday’s series finale, struck out a season-high 12 in a 3-1 win over the visiting Reds on May 25. RHP Homer Bailey (2-1) is scheduled to make his fifth start since returning from the disabled list after completing his comeback from Tommy John surgery. He is 4-3 with a 3.84 ERA in nine starts against the Dodgers.