Dodgers can’t overcome Yency Almonte’s three-run meltdown in loss to Reds

Dodgers reliever Yency Almonte pitches during the seventh inning.
Dodgers reliever Yency Almonte delivers during the seventh inning of a 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
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The Dodgers did not have a second miraculous comeback in them this week, their seventh-inning rally against the Cincinnati Reds falling a run short in an eventual 6-5 loss before a crowd of 48,280 in Chavez Ravine on Friday night.

Three days after scoring four runs in the ninth inning and one in the 10th for an 8-7 comeback win over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Dodgers fell behind 6-2 after reliever Yency Almonte’s three-run meltdown in the seventh.

But they nearly pulled even in the bottom of the seventh after a line change in which the left-handed-hitting David Peralta and James Outman replaced the right-handed-hitting Kiké Hernández and Miguel Rojas at the bottom of the order.


Amid continuing talks with the Cardinals about Nolan Arenado, the Dodgers could potentially be interested in acquiring Justin Verlander from the Mets.

July 28, 2023

Peralta led off the seventh with a pinch-hit ground-rule double to right field off Reds right-hander Lucas Sims, and Outman walked. Mookie Betts capped a nine-pitch at-bat with a walk to load the bases.

Reds manager David Bell, who signed a three-year extension through 2026 before the game, pulled Sims in favor of right-hander Ian Gibaut, who gave up a two-run single to Freddie Freeman that cut the lead to 6-4 and advanced Betts to third.

Will Smith flied out to medium right field, Betts holding at third, and J.D. Martinez struck out swinging on a 92-mph cut-fastball for the second out.

Amed Rosario, making his Dodgers debut after Wednesday’s trade from the Cleveland Guardians, grounded an RBI single to right-center to pull the Dodgers to within 6-5. Max Muncy, facing left-hander Alex Young, drove a ball to the warning track in center, but TJ Friedl hauled it in to end the inning.

Reds closer Alex Diaz got the final out of the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth for his 31st save, as the Dodgers, who have given up 27 runs in four games on this homestand, lost for the fourth time in five games.

“It seems like we’re in every ball game, and it’s nice when you can kind of match up late and get to their leverage guys in the pen,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But it wasn’t a good baseball game on our part. It was just one of those nights where it wasn’t a clean ballgame.”


The Dodgers trailed 3-2 when Almonte, who had lowered his ERA from 6.75 on June 15 to 4.43 with 15 straight scoreless outings in which he gave up seven hits, struck out 18 and walked three in 14⅔ innings, started the seventh and got Joey Votto to ground to shortstop for the first out.

Amed Rosario singles in the seventh inning during his Dodgers debut Friday against the Reds.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The inning disintegrated quickly from there. Spencer Steer poked a slider 357 feet into the left-field seats for his 15th homer of the season and a 4-2 lead. Tyler Stephenson singled to left-center. Will Benson walked. Almonte threw a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third.

Elly De La Cruz was intentionally walked to load the bases. Almonte hit Friedl on the back knee with an 84-mph sweeper to force in a run that made it 5-2. Matt McLain walked on four pitches to force in a run for a 6-2 lead.

Almonte was pulled in favor of right-hander Phil Bickford, who prevented further damage — and Almonte’s ERA from ballooning past 5.02 — by getting Jake Fraley to line out to first base and Jonathan India to pop out to first base to end the inning.

“Yency tonight, it just wasn’t a good one,” Roberts said. “He just couldn’t execute the slider, and then I think he got a little rattled and couldn’t find the strike zone. His last three or four [outings] have been really good, so just kind of chalk it up as an outlier and turn the page on that one.”


The Reds hit for the cycle against Dodgers starter Bobby Miller in a span of five batters in the first inning, De La Cruz leading off the game with a triple to right field, Friedl hitting an RBI groundout, McLain doubling to right and Fraley hitting a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole for a 3-0 lead.

“Yeah, rough first inning,” said Miller, who fell to 6-2 with a 4.37 ERA on the season. “Just a couple bad two-strike pitches. … But there’s a lot of baseball left. You’ve got to forget about that and take control of the game.”

De La Cruz, Cincinnati’s dynamic, five-tool rookie infielder, went from home to third in 10.84 seconds.

“Yeah, that’s a double for most guys,” Roberts said, “but you know, once that ball hits the outfield grass, there’s just no one that’s gonna keep him at second base.”

It did not appear that Miller would last long after throwing 33 pitches in the opening frame, but the rookie right-hander started leaning less on his 100-mph fastballs and more on his 80-mph looping curveballs and blanked the Reds on two hits with five strikeouts over the next four innings.

The Dodgers reacquire reliever Joe Kelly and add starter Lance Lynn from the White Sox as the team fortifies its pitching staff ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.

July 28, 2023

“Bobby came up [through the minor leagues] bullying guys with the plus fastball, but he’s had to learn on the fly,” Roberts said. “To use his spin today, to manage a really good lineup, to not run from it after a 33-pitch first inning and giving up three runs, to put up four zeros and give us a chance to win … I think that’s big for him. He’s really kind of taking that next step or two.”

The Dodgers trimmed the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the first when Freeman walked with one out and scored on Martinez’s two-out RBI double to left-center field. They pulled to within 3-2 in the fourth but ran into an out on the basepaths, preventing a bigger inning.


Rosario led off with a double to left-center, and Muncy flied out to center. Chris Taylor walked, and Hernández popped out to first for the second out.

Rojas chopped a grounder past a diving Votto at first base and into right field to score Rosario and make it 3-2, but Rojas rounded the base too aggressively and was caught in a rundown between first and second.

Taylor took third on the hit and drifted too far off the bag during the Rojas rundown. Cincinnati second baseman India threw to De La Cruz at third, and De La Cruz fired to catcher Stephenson, who tagged out Taylor to end the inning.

“I thought he just tried to get a little too aggressive, and it’s just unfortunate considering [Betts was] on deck,” Roberts said of Rojas. “But that’s baseball, and he’s trying to make something happen. That doesn’t happen very often with Miguel.”