LOS ANGELES -- Dusty Baker sat at his desk after the game, scribbling Doug Jones' name on the lineup card he removed from the dugout wall and signing it for closer Francisco Cordero -- along with a couple of copies of the batting order slips that go to the umpires.
The Cincinnati Reds manager made the gesture as a show of appreciation for the 36-year-old right-hander, who tied Jones for 20th place on the career saves list Monday night by striking out the final three batters to preserve Bronson Arroyo's 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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The Dodgers narrowed the gap to 6-4 in the eighth with a run-scoring triple by Dee Gordon, his first RBI in the majors, and a sacrifice fly by Aaron Miles. But Bill Bray struck out Andre Ethier to end the inning and Cordero fanned James Loney, pinch-hitter Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro following a walk to NL home run leader Matt Kemp.
It was Cordero's 13th save in 15 chances this season and the 303rd of his career, one shy of Jeff Montgomery for 19th place and six away from Hall of Famer Goose Gossage.
"It's not over yet. I mean, almost every day he's passing somebody," Baker said. "I think he can pass a whole bunch of guys by the time this year's over with. We just have to give him ample opportunities. We haven't had a bunch of opportunities this year, and they usually come in bunches. But he's throwing the ball as well as I've seen him since we got him, with consistent command and control, velocity and confidence."
Arroyo (5-6) outpitched Hiroki Kuroda for the second time in 11 days and singled home the go-ahead run for the Reds, who got homers from Joey Votto and Chris Heisey in the opener of a three-game series.
Arroyo allowed four runs and seven hits over 7 2-3 innings with no walks in a rematch of his June 3 duel with Kuroda, which Cincinnati won 2-1. The Reds' right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his last four starts against the Dodgers, after going 1-4 with a 4.67 ERA in his other nine starts against them.
"Sometimes during the year you get locked in with a team that you feel good about," Arroyo said. "I haven't been feeling particularly great all season long, and the last time I faced them at our place, I threw a much worse game and got away with it and won 2-1. Tonight I felt like I had good, crisp stuff. It was cool out there, so I wasn't exerting too much energy and my pitch count was pretty low."
Kuroda (5-8) was charged with four runs - two earned - and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings with six strikeouts and no walks. The 36-year-old right-hander is 0-5 with a 4.39 ERA in his last five starts, but his teammates have totaled just nine runs during that stretch.
The Reds capitalized on a pair of errors by the Dodgers' infield in the seventh to break open a 2-2 game. Gordon, a 23-year-old shortstop making his Dodger Stadium debut after getting called up from Triple-A during the team's 5-5 road trip, botched a routine grounder by Ryan Hanigan leading off the inning.
"I committed the error, but you've got to keep your head up and keep going," Gordon said.
Paul Janish followed with an apparent double-play grounder to Gordon, but the relay to first by Miles sailed into the photo well - allowing Janish to take an extra base on the error. Arroyo drove him in with his second single of the game, chasing Kuroda, and Votto hit a three-run homer off Matt Guerrier after a two-out walk to Brandon Phillips.
Votto, the reigning NL MVP, is vying for his first batting title with a .333 average. The home run was his ninth of the season and first since his three-run shot against Clayton Kershaw on June 4 at Cincinnati.
"The guy is very confident and he has a tremendous idea of what he's doing out there because he studies," Baker said. "He stays all business and comes to play. I mean, he has fun, but he's basically a no-nonsense guy when the game starts. He's just a pleasure to be around and he's very easy to manage."
Gordon's first error in the big leagues compounded an egregious mistake he made in the second inning - when he failed to touch second base on a potential double-play grounder by Miguel Cairo after taking the short flip from Miles. That cost the Dodgers an out - and a run, as Janish drove in Heisey with a two-out single.
"I could have gotten closer to the base. That was a miscue on my part," Gordon said. "It was a close play, but you've got to make sure you get one."
James Loney drove in the first run with a first-inning single after Arroyo gave up a two-out single by Ethier and hit Kemp with a pitch.
Kemp scored the Dodgers' second run on a double-play grounder by Juan Uribe in the third. But Heisey tied it 2-all in the sixth with a two-out solo homer on the first pitch, causing an exasperated Kuroda to put both hands on his head before the ball landed in the left-field pavilion.
Gordon, the Dodgers' minor league player of the year in 2009 and the son of former major league closer Tom Gordon, made back-to-back defensive gems in the third, and another in the sixth.
- Reds 3B Scott Rolen, who fouled a ball off his left foot in the second inning Sunday and finished the game, was not in the lineup for the opener of the three-game series.
- The two homers ended a five-game drought by the Reds, their longest since a five-game stretch in June 2006.