LOS ANGELES (AP) Billy Hamilton had been scuffling on Cincinnati’s 10-game road trip. Until he and the rest of the Reds ran into old teammate Mat Latos.
Hamilton, who came in 5 of 22, had career highs in hits (four) and runs (four) to help the Reds beat the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers 10-3 Thursday night for just their third victory in nine games.
”When you’re struggling, it’s hard to keep that confidence going,” Hamilton said. ”But today was one of those days where I had it back on and said, `I can hit.’ The season hasn’t been going as well as I’ve wanted it to offensively, but tonight put my confidence way up there.”
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Hamilton also had two RBIs for the Reds, who piled up 15 hits while never trailing against a team coming off consecutive shutout victories.
”There’s nothing like runs early, and then add-on runs,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. ”We kind of forced the hand of the other team to do some pretty incredible things to get back into it.”
Rookie Keyvius Sampson (2-1) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out three and walked one in winning his second straight.
”When those guys go out there and put up 10 runs – seven when I was in there – you’ve got to go out there and find a way to get it done,” he said. ”I didn’t have my best stuff and I didn’t have my best control, but I still had to get it done.”
Latos (4-9) gave up five runs – four earned – and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one in his first matchup against his old team since being traded by the Reds to Miami last December. Latos went 33-16 with a 3.31 ERA during three seasons in Cincinnati. He was acquired by the Dodgers last month.
”Who cares?” Latos said about the opponent. ”Turn the page. It’s done and over with. I got to worry about what I got here.”
Brandon Phillips went 2 for 5, drove in three runs and scored a run on a night when Joey Votto went 1 for 4 and drew his major league-leading 32nd walk for the Reds.
Eugenio Suarez’s three-run homer off Luis Avilan highlighted a four-run sixth and extended the Reds’ lead to 9-2. He tied his career high with three hits and had a career-best four RBIs. Phillips’ groundout to the pitcher scored Tucker Barnhart, who walked.
Phillips and Suarez had back-to-back RBI doubles in the fifth, keeping the Reds ahead 5-1.
Latos was following Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, who combined for 14 innings in the Dodgers’ back-to-back shutouts against Washington. Kershaw flirted with a perfect game in Wednesday’s 3-0 victory, retiring the first 16 batters he faced.
After Greinke and Kershaw spared the bullpen for two games, the Dodgers were forced to dip into it heavily.
Joc Pederson homered for the first time since July 26 with two outs in the fourth, Adrian Gonzalez had a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and Pederson added another in the sixth for the Dodgers.
Dodgers: INF Justin Turner was reinstated from the 15-day DL after recovering from a right thigh skin infection that he said was MRSA, a contagious and antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. He came off the bench in the fifth inning Thursday and will start Friday.
Hamilton stole his major league-leading 53rd base, leaving him three shy of his career high set last season. The Dodgers unsuccessfully challenged the safe call in the fifth inning.
”I always think I’m safe,” he said.
Reds: LH John Lamb makes his major league debut. He was acquired from the Royals last month as part of the Johnny Cueto deal. He’ll be the seventh Reds player and sixth starting pitcher to make his big league debut this season.
Dodgers: LH Alex Wood (7-7, 3.72) will make his second start since being acquired last month from the Braves. He’s allowed just eight home runs this season in 125 2/3 innings.