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Los Angeles at Cincinnati

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L.A. Dodgers (34-38) «1002210017142
Cincinnati (33-41)000000400490

Dodgers keep up dominance of Reds, hand Harang 10th defeat

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- A grass-stained baseball was stuffed in the right pocket of Eric Stults' tan slacks, a souvenir from the way he finished off Los Angeles' three-game sweep.

A fitting place for his keepsake. All season long, the Dodgers have had the Cincinnati Reds in their back pocket.

Stults pitched into the seventh inning in his season debut Thursday, and Matt Kemp emerged from his slump by hitting a two-run double, setting up a 7-4 victory and a three-game sweep of the rock-bottom Reds.

"That was fun," said Stults, who took a shutout into the seventh. "Your first time out, you still have some of the jitters, being in front of a bigger crowd and facing the best hitters in baseball."

The Dodgers picked the right time and place for a turnaround.

They arrived in town with a five-game losing streak and an offense that could barely score. They broke out against a team they've dominated no matter where they play. The Dodgers hadn't won three in a row since their three-game sweep of the Reds in Los Angeles from May 19-21.

"I just think we relaxed a little more and let the game come to us," Kemp said.

Whenever they play the Reds, the Dodgers get into a comfort zone. Los Angeles is 7-1 this season against Cincinnati, which is mired in last place in the NL Central with an offense that has trouble getting a clutch hit and a rotation that can't get a win out of its top two.

Aaron Harang (3-10) became the NL's second 10-game loser, joining San Francisco's Barry Zito, who has lost 11. The right-hander has never lost more than 13 games in a season. The Dodgers also beat Bronson Arroyo -- he has won only four -- during the series.

"I don't know," Harang said. "We've got to figure out what's going on, take one thing at a time and go from there."

Harang couldn't keep up with Stults, and had trouble getting him out as well.

Stults (1-0) was called up from Triple-A when Brad Penny went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder on Tuesday. The 28-year-old left-hander went 2-4 with the Dodgers the past two seasons, splitting time between the bullpen and the rotation.

"I don't know how long it's going to be," Stults said of his fill-in status. "I look at it as hopefully I can get in a groove and get on a rotation here. If I can pick Penny up for a couple of starts, that's fine with me."

Stults worked into the seventh, when second baseman Jeff Kent's error set up a four-run rally. He gave up six hits and struck out a career-high five, having his way with a lineup that melted down during a 2-7 homestand.

The Reds scored only 21 runs in those nine games. Paul Bako's RBI infield single in the seventh snapped Cincinnati's 0-for-21 slide with runners in scoring position. Brandon Phillips' bases-loaded single off Jonathan Broxton completed the rally.

Takashi Saito pitched the ninth for his second save in the series and his 10th in 13 chances.

The Reds batted .188 on the homestand and went 6-for-57 (.105) with runners in scoring position.

"This is a trying time right now," manager Dusty Baker said. "It seemed like every time we made a mistake, they capitalized. For us, we couldn't get the big hit. This was a tough week."

Stults also pitched in with LA's revived offense. He drew a walk and had a hit-and-run single through the hole at shortstop -- perfectly placed -- that set up a run.

"He was great with the bat and with the arm," manager Joe Torre said. "If we play cleaner, he gets through the seventh, probably. Everything was really good."

The Dodgers were in a hitting slump when they hit town, scoring one run or none in three of their previous five games. A different player emerged each game. This time it was Kemp's turn.

The outfielder had only two extra-base hits in his past 12 games. He matched that total in his first three at-bats. Kemp led off the fourth inning with his sixth home run, and doubled home two more runs in the fifth for a 5-0 lead.

Russell Martin also had an RBI double, and Juan Pierre's squeeze bunt drove in a run and went for a single when none of the Reds covered first base. James Loney had three more hits -- he's batting .448 against the Reds this season -- and drove in a run.

Notes

Los Angeles had five doubles, matching its season high. ... Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the Reds' lineup for a third consecutive game with an illness. The 38-year-old outfielder also has been bothered by a sore left knee. ... The Reds fell eight games under .500 at 33-41, matching their season low. ... Rookie Jay Bruce was ejected by plate umpire Bob Davidson after arguing a called third strike in the ninth. Bruce finished the series in a 2-for-23 slump.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Los Angeles' Eric Stults wins in his first start of the season, taking a shutout into the seventh.  (AP)
Los Angeles' Eric Stults wins in his first start of the season, taking a shutout into the seventh. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

B. Phillips
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Los Angeles

M. Kemp
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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Los Angeles Dodgers
Juan Pierre, LF5011013 .280
Blake DeWitt, 3B4110002 .277
Jeff Kent, 2B5110013 .248
    Luis Maza, 2B0000000 .245
Russell Martin, C3111201 .306
James Loney, 1B4231101 .307
Matt Kemp, CF5123005 .293
Andre Ethier, RF5021001 .288
Angel Berroa, SS5120013 .194
Eric Stults, P3010122 .333
    Scott Proctor, P0000000 .000
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
   a- Mark Sweeney, PH1000011 .111
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
Totals40714746  
a-struck out for Broxton in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jeff Kent (9, Harang), Russell Martin (13, Harang), James Loney (16, Cordero), Matt Kemp (16, Harang), Andre Ethier (17, Affeldt)
HR - Matt Kemp (6, Harang)
RBI - Juan Pierre (23), Russell Martin (33), James Loney (35), Matt Kemp 3 (42), Andre Ethier (28)
2-OUT RBI - Russell Martin (11), James Loney (15)
SB - Blake DeWitt (2, 2nd base off Harang/Bako)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Kent-Berroa-Loney
E - Jeff Kent (5, Misplayed grounder), Russell Martin (7, Throwing)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Eric Stults (W,1-0) 6631150 1.50
Scott Proctor 0.1111110 5.87
Joe Beimel (H,7) 0.1000010 1.23
Jonathan Broxton (H,9) 1.1100100 3.94
Takashi Saito (S,10) 1100010 2.12
IBB - Dunn by Jonathan Broxton
WP - Jonathan Broxton (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Eric Stults 89-57, Scott Proctor 10-4, Joe Beimel 6-4, Jonathan Broxton 22-13, Takashi Saito 22-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Stults 7-6, Jonathan Broxton 2-2, Takashi Saito 2-0
Batters Faced - Eric Stults 25, Scott Proctor 3, Joe Beimel 1, Jonathan Broxton 6, Takashi Saito 4
Cincinnati Reds
Norris Hopper, CF5021011 .290
Jay Bruce, RF5010034 .318
Brandon Phillips, 2B5022013 .268
Adam Dunn, LF3010112 .228
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B3100105 .241
Joey Votto, 1B4110001 .278
Paul Bako, C4111012 .241
Paul Janish, SS3000013 .182
   a- Jolbert Cabrera, PH-SS1000000 .214
Aaron Harang, P1000000 .188
   b- Andy Phillips, PH1000001 .143
    Mike Lincoln, P0000000 .000
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
   c- Javier Valentin, PH0100100 .226
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
    Francisco Cordero, P0000000 .000
   d- Corey Patterson, PH1010000 .195
Totals3649438  
a-lined out for Janish in the 8th
b-grounded out for Harang in the 5th
c-walked for Affeldt in the 7th
d-singled for Cordero in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Norris Hopper (1), Brandon Phillips 2 (41), Paul Bako (21)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Phillips 2 (14)
SB - Brandon Phillips (13, 3rd base off Stults/Martin)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Adam Dunn 1
DP - Dunn-B. Phillips
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (L,3-10) 51055321 4.33
Mike Lincoln 1111100 5.18
Jeremy Affeldt 1100030 4.46
David Weathers 1000000 3.95
Francisco Cordero 1211010 2.84
HBP - DeWitt (by Mike Lincoln)
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 107-68, Mike Lincoln 23-15, Jeremy Affeldt 17-12, David Weathers 9-5, Francisco Cordero 24-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 4-8, Mike Lincoln 2-1, David Weathers 2-1
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 27, Mike Lincoln 6, Jeremy Affeldt 4, David Weathers 3, Francisco Cordero 5
Game Information
Attendance - 30136
Game Time - 3:21
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Mike Reilly