CINCINNATI — Even Steve Sax couldn't believe the improbable ending he supplied Friday night to snap the Dodgers' six-game losing streak.
Sax hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth off Cincinnati left-hander John Franco to erase a one-run deficit and launch the Dodgers to a 9-7 victory over the Reds.
Despite the win, the defending Dodgers were mathematically eliminated in the National League West as the first-place Houston Astros defeated the San Diego Padres, 5-4. The Dodgers are 16 games behind the Astros with only 15 games left.
Each starting infielder had a homer for the Dodgers, who overcame a 7-4 deficit in the last two innings against the Reds' best left-handed reliever.
"I was as surprised as you were," Sax said of his sixth homer, a line drive over the 375-foot marker in left field. "It was the last thing on my mind."
Sax has hit safely in 17 consecutive games, a career high and the longest hitting streak this season by a Dodger.
First baseman Greg Brock, shortstop Dave Anderson and third baseman Bill Madlock also homered to send the Reds to their fourth consecutive defeat.
Madlock hit his 10th homer, a two-run shot in the eighth off Franco to cut the lead to 7-6. Larry See singled with one out in the ninth off Franco (5-6) and Sax hit a 2-2 pitch for the game-winning homer. Reggie Williams capped the inning with an RBI single.
Reds player-manager Pete Rose was stunned by the way the Dodgers caught up against Franco, trying for his 25th save.
"Huh, I don't know how to do anything different than that," Rose said. "They just gave up home runs to guys who don't normally hit them."
The Reds had built a comfortable lead through seven innings as Dave Parker doubled to ignite a three-run fourth inning and Barry Larkin hit a two-run homer an inning later.
Ted Power allowed seven hits over seven innings, striking out a career-high seven batters before handing the lead to Franco.
Cincinnati ended left-hander Rick Honeycutt's season-long mastery, scoring five runs on five hits in just 4 innings. Honeycutt had one victory and a 1.20 earned run average in his three previous starts this season against Cincinnati.
Cincinnati took a 3-1 lead in the fourth. Doubles by Buddy Bell and Parker produced the first run, a wild pitch sent Parker to third, and Eric Davis walked with one out. Bo Diaz's groundout scored Parker, and Tony Perez's single off Madlock's glove at third base brought Davis home.
Dave Concepcion doubled ahead of Larkin's second major-league homer with one out in the fifth. Concepcion also singled home a run in the sixth off Joe Beckwith, and Parker doubled home a run in the seventh off Ed Vande Berg.
Brian Holton (2-2), the fourth Dodger pitcher, gave up one hit over 1 innings for the victory. Tom Niedenfuer pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
Brock hit his 16th home run in the second inning for a 1-0 lead.