Zack Greinke did his job, which over the course of the season, he's probably done better than any pitcher in baseball. He went seven innings without allowing a run, the 11th time in 26 starts this season he's pulled off that magic.
Which still left two innings in the hands of the Dodgers' exceedingly unreliable bullpen. And the offense had supported him with exactly one run.
But on a day when Yasiel Puig pulled up lame again, apparently aggravating his sore right hamstring, the Dodgers overcame hitting into five double plays and received two scoreless innings from their bullpen to preserve a 1-0 victory over the Reds.
The victory completed a three-game sweep of the Reds, despite the Dodgers' running into a Cincinnati rookie starting pitcher they couldn't push around. Anthony DeSclafani held them to one run in his seven innings on six hits and a walk.
The damage could have been more severe for the Dodgers, but they managed to hit into those five double plays — three by Yasmani Grandal. His shoulder may still be too sore to rejoin the lineup.
The Dodgers started like they were going to get after DeSclafani when they loaded the bases to start the second inning on singles by Justin Turner, Andre Ethier and Puig.
Grandal bounced into the first double play of the day, the grounder at least driving in Turner with what proved to be the game's only run. Joc Pederson, also back in the lineup, bounced out to end the inning.
And then it was pretty much Greinke's show. By the game's end, Greinke had lowered his ERA to 1.61, easily the lowest in the majors this season, and raised his record to 14-3. He held the Reds scoreless in seven innings on four hits and two walks, striking out nine.
But it took him 109 pitches to get through the seven, and Manager Don Mattingly decided that was enough. He turned the 1-0 lead over to Chris Hatcher in the eighth.
Back at the start of the season, the Dodgers hoped Hatcher could emerge as their setup man. Instead, he proved highly undependable. In his first 27 appearances, Hatcher put up a 6.38 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. Then he went on the disabled list for two months with an oblique injury.
On this day, though, he delivered. Hatcher struck out ex-Dodger Skip Shumaker to open the eighth, but Todd Frazier put a scare into the Dodgers with a drive that Ethier tracked down on the warning track. Joey Votto worked a walk, but Hatcher got Brandon Phillips to bounce out.
The eighth inning had been preserved.
Kenley Jansen had pitched the past two days, so Mattingly called not on his closer but on Jim Johnson to pitch the ninth. Johnson retired the Reds in order, two fly balls and a ground-out, to record his first save as a Dodger and his 10th on the season.
Much in the same way that Puig had originally tweaked his right hamstring — not the left one that put him on the disabled list — he came up lame in the ninth after running out an infield single. He tried running, but the Dodgers wanted him out of the game and brought in reliever Juan Nicasio as a pinch runner.
Puig's infield hit loaded the bases with no outs, but Aroldis Chapman struck out Grandal and popped up Peterson and Alex Guerrero. Johnson would have to preserve a one-run lead.
And on this warm day, the bullpen came through.