LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers felt like they had hit a low point.
Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto homered, and the last-place Cincinnati Reds beat Los Angeles 5-3 Sunday for their first four-game sweep of the Dodgers since the Big Red Machine accomplished the feat in August 1976.
“This might be more difficult to turn the page after losing four to the Reds at home,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I just want to clear this from my mind.”
Luis Castillo (3-4) allowed three runs — two earned — and four hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. Cincinnati outscored the Dodgers 20-9 over the four games.
“You’ve got to keep grinding. You’ve got to find a way,” Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said.
The defending NL champion Dodgers finished a 1-5 homestand and have lost seven of eight. At 16-23 they are fourth in the NL West, just one game ahead of San Diego.
“We have the same squad as last year and we are going to keep grinding it out and things hopefully will turn around here pretty soon,” Cody Bellinger said.
Cincinnati has won six straight following an 8-27 start yet remains last in the NL Central.
Three relievers finished the four-hitter. Raisel Iglesias got three straight outs for his seventh save in eight chances.
“I feel really happy,” Castillo said through a translator. “That’s a really good team, a tough team.”
Rich Hill (1-2) gave up three runs — two earned — six hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings and 98 pitches. The Dodgers are without injured ace Clayton Kershaw and hurt regulars Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe.
Turner and Forsythe are expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday in Miami.
“It’s going to be a huge boost,” Hill said.
Roberts and Yosuke Nakajima, the team’s soft tissue specialist, went to the mound with two outs in the sixth and looked at the left middle finger of Hill, who had a blister on the finger that caused him to go on the disabled list from April 7-16 and from April 17 to May 16. Roberts said Hill was taken out as precaution and is expected to start Saturday at Washington.
Suarez hit a two-run homer in the third, and Yasiel Puig cut the lead in half in the bottom half with his first home run since Game 5 of last year’s World Series.
Alex Blandino’s sacrifice bunt drove in a run in the fourth, and Votto hit a two-run homer for a 5-1 lead in the sixth.
Yasmani Grandal hit a solo homer in the seventh and Bellinger followed with a single that chased Castillo.
Bellinger started, a day after ignoring a take sign and attempting a bunt with a 3-0 count in the ninth inning of a 5-3 defeat. Bellinger was benched a couple of weeks ago for not hustling.
“To his credit, he came in last night and took accountability for it,” Roberts said. “So for me, as a young player, that’s the biggest win. To not make an excuse and own it and move on.”