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08/29/09 8:30 PM ET
Reds' five-game win streak snapped
Maloney allows five runs in six innings in return from Minors
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- To do their part for the environment and encourage recycling, the Reds gave fans reusable grocery bags on Saturday. As for the scorecards from an 11-4 defeat during a rough afternoon vs. the Dodgers, it might be better to send them to a remote landfill -- never to be seen again. The Reds' season-high five-game winning streak also went to the incinerator. Recalled from Triple-A Louisville to make the start, lefty Matt Maloney pitched six innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Prone to giving up homers in his first big league stint, Maloney (0-3) brought two recently developed pitches with him -- a sinker and cut fastball -- in an effort to better keep the ball in the ballpark. Yet with the wind blowing out toward right field, he was still hurt by two long balls hit to the opposite way. "Maloney threw the ball pretty good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Early, he was getting the ball up. Both of those home runs probably weren't home runs too many other places with the wind blowing up to right field." It was a 4-4 game with one out in the Dodgers' fifth when Rafael Furcal sent a Maloney 2-0 outside sinker for a homer into the right-field bullpen. In the top of the first with one out against Maloney, Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer that barely cleared the fence in right field. Los Angeles took a 4-0 lead during a three-hit second inning. Brad Ausmus sharply grounded a ball that hopped over first baseman Joey Votto's glove for an RBI single. Furcal later added a sacrifice fly. "Early he couldn't really use them as he was overthrowing and getting the ball up," Baker said of Maloney's sinker and cutter. "As the game went on, he settled down and made some quality pitches." Maloney retired seven in a row before the Furcal homer for the go-ahead run. It was one of only two hits Maloney allowed after the second inning. "I kind of started getting into a better rhythm," Maloney said. "The ball started coming out of my hand better. I definitely settled down after my first two innings. "Honestly, I felt like I threw the ball pretty well today. I don't think they had too many balls that were hit hard. A couple of them got over the fence, but for the most part, I felt pretty good out there." Maloney has given up eight homers in 23 2/3 innings over his four big league starts. The game really got away after Maloney's departure during a six-run Dodgers seventh inning that featured two errors and nine batters. Five of the runs scored on Carlos Fisher, who could not record an out. A bunt single by Furcal was scooped up by Fisher and after looking back a runner, he made an errant throw to first base that set the ominous tone. The big blows were Matt Kemp's three-run homer off of Fisher and a solo homer by Orlando Hudson against Daniel Herrera. "It was a good ballgame until the seventh," Baker said. "Fisher has been outstanding this year. That was the worst outing he's had as far as control. The way that lineup is stacked up, right-left-right-left, I didn't want to go through our whole bullpen." Rendered moot was an early comeback against knuckleball starter Charlie Haeger. A four-run Cincinnati third saw nine batters come to the plate, starting with backup catcher Craig Tatum, who hit a 1-0 knuckler to left field for his first Major League homer while snapping an 0-for-22 skid. With one out and one on in the third, Paul Janish hit a two-run long ball for his first homer of the season and the second of his career. Votto followed with a double and scored on Brandon Phillips' bounced RBI single up the middle to end Haeger's afternoon. Phillips went 3-for-4 in the game. The Reds could do no more against the Dodgers' bullpen, namely Jeff Weaver, who worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed six hits but twice escaped bases-loaded threats. In the bottom of the fifth, Weaver (6-4) was in a bases full, no outs situation but got Wladimir Balentien to ground to the shortstop for a fielder's choice play at the plate, Jonny Gomes to pop out and Tatum to strike out. In the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded, Hudson made a spectacular backhanded play on Scott Rolen's one-hopped liner to end the inning without a run crossing. Overall, the Reds stranded 11 while Los Angeles left only four. "We didn't get anybody home," Baker said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.