CINCINNATI -- Bronson Arroyo appreciated how the Los Angeles Dodgers helped him get through the hottest night at Great American Ball Park.
The right-hander took advantage of a struggling offense while pitching into the seventh inning Tuesday night, setting up a 4-0 victory that ended the Cincinnati Reds' nine-game losing streak against the Dodgers.
It was 97 degrees at the first pitch, the hottest start for a game in the ballpark's five seasons. A steamy breeze only made it worse for the 22,057 fans who saw a breakthrough win.
"Those guys let me off the hook with some easy innings," Arroyo said of the Dodgers. "I felt like I beat those guys mentally."
That's exactly what manager Grady Little brought up during a brief team meeting after the game. The Dodgers' poor clutch hitting is behind their deepest slump of the season, one that has knocked them from first to third in the NL West.
The fading Dodgers lost their fifth in a row, their longest losing streak of the season. They've dropped 14 of their last 19 overall.
"We'll get through it, hopefully sooner than later," Little said. "Other than that, I don't have a lot to say. I don't have a lot of good to say, so I'm not going to say anything."
Their play speaks for itself. On this night, they couldn't beat the team they've dominated over the past two seasons.
The Dodgers swept their six-game series last season, and took all three from the Reds in a May series in Los Angeles. Arroyo (5-12) stopped the streak and got himself back on track. The right-hander had retired only four batters in a 7-2 loss in Washington on Wednesday, the shortest start of his career.
Arroyo gave up six hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck out five and didn't walk a batter. He also overcame a pair of Cincinnati errors that set up scoring threats while he was on the mound.
"It was hot, but that's part of the game," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "I think he wanted to make a statement that his last start was a fluke, and he certainly did that."
Edwin Encarnacion doubled home a pair of runs and Brandon Phillips hit a solo homer off left-hander Mark Hendrickson (4-6), who couldn't overcome his poor first inning. Adam Dunn singled home a run with two outs in the first, and Encarnacion followed with a two-run double -- the first of his three hits.
Encarnacion might have been the only one on the field enjoying the weather.
"It's hot like my country," said Encarnacion, who lives in the Dominican Republic. "I feel like I'm playing winter ball."
Phillips led off the third inning with his 21st homer, a shot to straightaway center. After that, Hendrickson held the Reds down and hoped the Dodgers offense could catch up. It was a futile quest.
"The good thing is it's Aug. 7, and I think everyone in here would say we haven't played our best baseball of the year," Hendrickson said. "Hopefully we have one or two things go our way, things turn around and it picks up our morale a little bit."
The Dodgers had cleanup hitter Jeff Kent back from a sore hamstring, but couldn't get much going anything off Arroyo and the NL's worst bullpen. The Reds activated left-hander Eddie Guardado and called up right-hander Gary Majewski before the game in their latest attempt to set it straight.
Arroyo minimized the bullpen's impact by pitching into seventh inning. It appeared he was headed for another fast meltdown when he needed 31 pitches to get through the first inning in the draining conditions. This time, he figured out what was going wrong and fixed it, allowing only four baserunners after the first inning.
Kent had missed the last five games with a strained hamstring. He singled in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. He has reached base safely in his last 39 games, the longest active streak in the majors.