National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, July 4th (All times Eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (44-36) at Los Angeles Dodgers (45-37), 9:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Mike Leake (3-5, 4.12) Los Angeles - Aaron Harang (5-5, 3.68)
(Sports Network) - Luis Cruz did most of the work last night to get the Los Angeles Dodgers back into the win column, but the club needs more than just one player at a time to rely on.
The Dodgers are in position to take a three-game series from the Cincinnati Reds when the two ballclubs close out the set this evening at Chavez Ravine. Los Angeles has won two of three games since losing seven in a row and 11 of 12 games, and squeezed out a 3-1 victory on Tuesday.
Cruz doubled in James Loney with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and later stole home for a two-run cushion.
"I was pretty excited when I got to third base, then I saw the squeeze sign on," Cruz said. "I knew [Reds starter Johnny] Cueto saw me breaking for home. I hope I distracted him. I'm just trying to help this team score runs."
Bobby Abreu had an RBI and Elian Herrera finished 2-for-2 with a run scored for the Dodgers, who rebounded from Monday's 8-2 loss and are now in position to win a series since taking two of three matchups with the Chicago White Sox from June 15-17. The Dodgers haven't won two in a row since back-to-back triumphs in Seattle from June 9-10.
Dodgers starter Chris Capuano lasted six innings and allowed one run, while Scott Elbert recorded the final out in the top of the seventh to get the win. Kenley Jansen tossed a scoreless ninth for his 13th save.
Los Angeles is just one-half game behind San Francisco in the NL West standings and 2-4 on a seven-game homestand. It will visit Arizona for four games in the desert after tonight's tilt with the Reds.
Aaron Harang will face his former Reds team tonight and is 5-5 with a 3.68 earned run average through 16 starts. Harang, who spent 2003-2010 with Cincinnati, is 0-2 in his previous four starts and was dealt the loss in Friday's 9-0 blanking at the hands of the New York Mets. He allowed five runs, four of which were earned, in 5 2/3 innings.
Harang, a right-hander, is 1-2 in six starts at Dodger Stadium this season and faced the Reds for the first time in his career back on June 21, 2002 as a member of the Oakland Athletics. In a 5-3 win at Cincinnati, Harang allowed two runs -- one earned -- in six innings.
Meanwhile, Dodgers injured slugger Matt Kemp (hamstring) played in his first rehab game with Class A Rancho Cucamonga last night and went 2-for-3 with a run, walk and a strikeout as the designated hitter. The All-Star could play some innings in center field on Wednesday. Injured second baseman Mark Ellis is nearing a return to the big leagues and was placed on the DL after surgery on his lower leg. He could be activated Thursday before the Arizona series.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is battling an oblique injury and may land on the disabled list. Ethier hasn't played since June 27.
"We're getting closer to a decision we have to make," LA manager Don Mattingly said of Ethier on the club's site. "He swung in the cage. He's not taking batting practice on the field today, which pushes him back. Common sense tells us to make a good decision. He felt something on one swing today."
Cincinnati got one of its best players back in Joey Votto last night after he missed the previous two games with inflammation in his left knee. Votto and Ryan Ludwick both went 2-for-4 and Brandon Phillips drove in the lone run for the Reds, who have dropped four of seven games and are 3-3 on an 11-game road trip in California.
Reds starter Johnny Cueto was aiming for his 10th win of the season, but allowed all three runs and seven hits in seven innings for the loss.
"Johnny just got a couple of pitches out over the plate," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We had opportunities during the game, we just didn't score enough. The big hit escapes us tonight."
Baker's club will visit San Diego for four games following its visit to Chavez Ravine and is now tied with Pittsburgh atop the NL Central standings.
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart finished 1-for-4 last night and was back in the lineup after taking a pitch off the helmet in Monday's game. Cozart sustained a mild concussion and was cleared to resume playing.
"I woke up this morning still with a slight headache," Cozart told the team's website before Tuesday's game. "My condition never got worse. It's gotten a lot better. I don't have the tension in my head anymore. I don't have the pressure up there. I feel completely normal."
Mike Leake draws the start for the Reds Wednesday and he hasn't lost since May 11 versus Washington. He is 3-0 with a 2.55 earned run average in his last nine starts and registered the first complete game of his career in Friday's 5-1 win at San Francisco. He held the Giants to a run on nine hits and a walk to improve to 3-5 in 15 starts with a 4.12 ERA.
Leake is 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA in three career games (2 starts) against Los Angeles.
Cincinnati won four of six matchups with Los Angeles a season ago, including a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium from June 13-15.
07/04 10:32:57 ET