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LAD@CIN: Stubbs drives a solo homer to center

CINCINNATI -- The Reds had their share of good wood on Sunday, just not from Travis.

The inconsistent Cincinnati starter gave the club his worst outing in more than a month, surrendering a career-high eight earned runs as the Dodgers held on, 9-6, to clinch the series at Great American Ball Park.

Wood was tagged for eight hits and walked five, two intentionally, before being pulled after 4 2/3 innings. Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley delivered the final blow, a two-out RBI double in the top of the fifth.

Billingsley, who got the win after allowing four runs on eight hits, actually did most of his damage from the batter's box. He was 2-for-2 with three RBIs, including a second-inning solo home run. He also drew a bases-loaded walk in the third.

"That was the difference in the ballgame," manager Dusty Baker said. "We lost by three, and [Billingsley] accounted for three. The game is tough, anyway, but especially tough when you're playing from behind."

Wood entered Sunday's contest off a solid May in which he went 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA in six starts. His effort against the Dodgers, however, conjured images from late April, when he lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed at least six earned runs in each of a pair of starts against Pittsburgh and Florida.

Los Angeles did not need much time to jump on Wood. After a walk, double and sacrifice fly gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead three batters into the game, Reds killer Matt Kemp pulled an 0-1 cutter over the left-field wall for a two-run homer.

Kemp was a combined 7-for-11 (.636) during the three-game series with five walks, three home runs and eight RBIs

"I feel really good, real comfortable, and we're all swinging the bats well," Kemp said. "I hope we can take this to Philly. Everybody is doing their job. Everybody is capable of putting up numbers. And it starts with the leadoff guys, Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles, getting on base."

Wood's problems only snowballed after the first. Down, 4-3, with the bases loaded and two out in the third, Wood gave up a two-run double to Rod Barajas. After loading the bases by intentionally walking James Loney to face Billingsley, Wood could not find the strike zone with a 3-2 fastball, giving Los Angeles a 7-3 lead.

After Wood left the game in the fifth, Cincinnati's bullpen also experienced control trouble. As a team, the Reds surrendered a season-high 10 walks.

"All day, we had trouble getting strike one," Baker said. "This game wasn't designed to pitch from behind. You pitch from behind, everybody's batting average goes up and everybody becomes a better hitter, because you've got to come into the strike zone."

Overall, the Reds' bullpen bounced back nicely after giving up eight runs in four innings in Saturday's tough-to-swallow 11-8 loss. Four Cincinnati relievers combined to allow one run in 4 1/3 innings, keeping the team within striking distance.

And the Dodgers' pitchers helped, walking six batters of their own. The two teams combined for 16 free passes, the most in a nine-inning game since St. Louis and Colorado combined for 18 in 1994.

Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips each drove in two runs, and Drew Stubbs began the Reds' scoring by leading off the bottom of the first with his eighth home run of the year.

The other side of that bookend proved to be more disappointing: Stubbs also ended the game as the potential tying run. Down three with runners on first and second, Stubbs struck out swinging.

But Stubbs and the rest of the Cincinnati offense were put in a tough position because of Wood's disappointing start. Catcher Ramon Hernandez defended his pitcher after the game, but he said Wood struggled to control his offspeed pitches.

Wood was not available to the media after the game.

"When you only get to pitch with your fastball, it's pretty tough," Hernandez said. "You need all your pitches to get hitters out of balance, get him in front, get him jammed. It's pretty tough when you're breaking pitches don't work."

With a St. Louis win on Sunday, Cincinnati now sits 5 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central, the farthest back the Reds have been this season. Comments