MLB: Reds vie to sweep Dodgers, win season series

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Brunch and baseball will be the theme Sunday when the Cincinnati Reds and visiting Los Angeles Dodgers play with an adjusted starting time.

First pitch of the series finale and season finale between the teams will be at 12:10 p.m. ET, 90 minutes earlier than the scheduled 1:40 p.m. start time because inclement weather is expected later in the day.

The only deluge so far in the series has come with the flood of Reds home runs. Cincinnati hit three in Friday’s series opener and two Saturday for a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles.

The Reds have won the first two games of the three-game weekend series to even the season series 3-3. All seven games between the teams this season are being played in a span of 11 days.

Spencer Steer hit a first-inning home run for the Reds in each of the two games of the current series as Cincinnati has consecutive victories for the first time since April 23-24, when they got the best of another National League power in the Philadelphia Phillies.

“The belief in what we’re capable of has really showed up,” said Reds manager David Bell, whose team was on a 1-11 stretch earlier this month. “We know what we went through for a few weeks. You survive that. You get through it and all of a sudden, things can shift around.”

Will Benson also hit a home run for the Reds on Saturday, while right-hander Hunter Greene gave up just one run over six innings. Bell will turn to left-hander Brent Suter (0-0 4.13 ERA) as an expected one-inning opener Sunday.

When the Reds earned a 7-2 victory on the road against the Dodgers on May 16, Suter opened, with right-hander Nick Martinez adding five scoreless innings to the cause.

Twice in the past week, the Arizona Diamondbacks used a left-handed opener against the Dodgers, who have left-handed hitters Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman at the top of the order.

The Dodgers will counter on Sunday with right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto (5-1, 3.17 ERA) as they try to end their first four-game losing streak of the season.

Yamamoto, who typically worked on six days of rest in his native Japan, will be working on five when he takes the mound Sunday.

Five times this season, the Dodgers have given Yamamoto six or more days between outings, and he is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA on those occasions. As impressive as it seems, he is even better with five days of rest: 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA in five starts.

Yamamoto earned his fourth win in his past five starts when he gave up two runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday in a 6-4 victory. His eight strikeouts were one off his season best, set April 19 vs. the New York Mets.

“I wanted to get him through that seventh inning (Monday),” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “… But he was fantastic. The slider, he used a little bit more. The fastball had life, good command. Got a lot of swing and miss and really had his way with those guys. It was nice to see.”

Ohtani ended an 0-for-10 skid with a triple Saturday but was left stranded on the bases. He also had three strikeouts for the second time this season as he deals with right hamstring discomfort.

Reds third baseman Jeimer Candelario was a late scratch Saturday with a stiff neck.

–Field Level Media

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