Friday was a low-scoring affair at Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers relied on their two most productive players to top the Reds. Clayton Kershaw pitched eight strong innings and Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run home run for a 2-1 victory and a seventh win in their last eight games.
The win kept the Dodgers a half-game in front of the Diamondbacks in the National League West.
Kershaw allowed just six hits in eight innings for his fifth win in his last six starts. Four of the six hits allowed by Kershaw were doubles but he stranded three of them. Brandon Phillips was the only one of the doublers who scored, coming home on a Jay Bruce single in the seventh inning to cut the Dodgers' lead to 2-1.
The Dodgers scored both of their runs in the sixth inning. Adrian Gonzalez singled, his one hit in three at-bats against Homer Bailey, against whom he is 9-for-18 (.500) in his career. Hanley Ramirez, who missed the plate trying to score from third base on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, deposited a Bailey offering over the wall in left field for his 11th home run of the season.
That was enough for Kershaw, who lasted at least seven innings for the 18th time in 22 starts this season, and the sixth straight game. Kershaw struck out eight and walked nobody, his seventh straight start with one or fewer walk.
In July, Kershaw is 4-1 with seven runs allowed in five starts, a 1.62 ERA, with 38 strikeouts and two walks in 39 innings. On the season, his major league leading ERA lowered to 1.96.
Kenley Jansen retired the heart of the Reds' order in succession in the ninth. He got Joey Votto to fly out to left field, then struck out Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce for his 13th save of the season. Jansen has 72 strikeouts and eight unintentional walks on the season.
Hyun-jin Ryu gets the start for the Dodgers on Saturday night, a 6:10 p.m. PT start. Bronson Arroyo starts for the Reds in the third game of the series.
Home run: Hanley Ramirez (11)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (10-6): 8 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 8 strikeouts
LP - Homer Bailey (5-10): 7 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (13): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts