Reds Seize Opportunities, Win Opener Over Dodgers 6-4

The Reds took advantage of every opportunity the Dodgers gave them, and scored a 6-4 win Monday night in the first game of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Bronson Arroyo lasted 7 2/3 innings for his second win over the Dodgers in 11 days.

The Dodgers brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but Don Mattingly's bizarre willingness to get Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro as many plate appearances as possible reared its ugly head again. Assuming Casey Blake was unavailable (giving the benefit of the doubt here), Mattingly chose Barajas and Navarro as his final two hitters off closer Francisco Cordero while Marcus Thames and Trent Oeltjen sat on the bench. Barajas and Navarro both struck out.

On a night that Dee Gordon made two highlight defensive plays, his first MLB error, mishandling a grounder by catcher Ryan Hanigan, gave the Reds a leadoff baserunner in the top of the seventh. Paul Janish hit a potential double play grounder to Juan Uribe, who threw to second for one out, but Aaron Miles threw the ball into the dugout to allow Janish to advance to second. Then, with two outs, Bronson Arroyo blooped a single to short right field. Andre Ethier might have had a play on Janish, but uncorked a 10-hopper up the first base line and the Reds led 3-2.

Hiroki Kuroda was removed after the single by Arroyo, but Matt Guerrier did not provide relief. One out and a walk to Brandon Phillips later, a three-run home run by Joey Votto put the game out of reach, capping a four-run inning for the Reds. It was the first home run allowed by Guerrier this season.

The Reds took advantage of a scoring chance in the top of the second as well. With Chris Heisey on first base, Miguel Cairo hit a ball to the right of Miles, who made a nice stop of the ball then flipped to Gordon at second, who threw to first base to complete what looked like a double play. However, Gordon never touched second base, so instead of two outs, nobody on base, the Reds had a runner in scoring position. One out later, Janish singled to center to bring in the Reds' first run.

Gordon did have a pair of highlight plays on consecutive batters in the top of the third inning. Gordon made a diving stop up the middle on a potential single by Brandon Phillips, then got up to throw out Phillips from the outfield grass. The next batter, Joey Votto, hit a ball that ricocheted off Hiroki Kuroda and Gordon changed course, grabbed the ball with his bare hand and threw out Votto with room to spare.

Jansen Pitches From The Stretch

The Dodgers wanted Kenley Jansen to enter a game with runners on base during his rehab assignment with Double A Chattanooga, and they got their wish tonight. After a leadoff triple allowed by Wilkin De La Rosa in the bottom of the seventh in Mississippi tonight, Jansen came in, pitching from the stretch, and got a strikeout, issued an intentional walk, then induced a flyout to right field, where Kyle Russell threw home to erase the runner and end the inning.

The Dodgers will decide after tonight's outing if Jansen is ready to return, wrote Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, though Tony Jackson of ESPN LA suggested one more rehab appearance and a Friday return could be in the cards for Jansen. Jansen struck out six of the 12 batters he faced in his three-game rehab assignment, with the only baserunner coming via intentional walk. Jansen was eligible to be activated from the disabled list as soon as today.

Earned/Unearned

The two runs charged to Matt Guerrier, which occurred with two outs after a pair of errors in the inning, were earned runs for Guerrier, but unearned runs to the team, thanks to obscure MLB rule 10.16(i):

When pitchers are changed during an inning, the relief pitcher shall not have the benefit of previous chances for outs not accepted in determining earned runs.
Rule 10.16(i) Comment: It is the intent of Rule 10.16(i) to charge a relief pitcher with earned runs for which such relief pitcher is solely responsible. In some instances, runs charged as earned against the relief pitcher can be charged as unearned against the team.

Notes

  • Gordon at the plate snapped an 0-for-9 skid with a triple down the right field line in the bottom of the eighth inning. The triple, which drove in Tony Gwynn Jr. from first, was the first major league extra-base hit and first major league RBI for the rookie. He then showed off his speed once more, scoring on a sacrifice fly to shallow left field.
  • Kemp stole second base in the ninth inning, his 15th steal of the season. In 68 games, Kemp has achieved the 23rd 20/15 season in Dodgers history.
  • Kuroda allowed a home run to Heisey in the sixth inning, the 11th homer allowed by Kuroda this season, in 89 2/3 innings. Kuroda allowed 15 home runs in 196 1/3 innings last season.
  • It was the fifth straight loss for Kuroda; the last Dodger pitcher to lose five straight starts was Brad Penny in 2008.
  • Clayton Kershaw takes the mound on Tuesday, facing Johnny Cueto for Cincinnati.

WP - Bronson Arroyo (5-6): 7 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 1 strikeout

LP - Hiroki Kuroda (5-8): 6 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs (2 earned), 6 strikeouts

Sv - Francisco Cordero (13): 1 IP, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Box Score

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