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CIN@LAD: Arroyo singles home Janish in the seventh

LOS ANGELES -- The Reds are still searching for that moment when they move into a higher gear and start consistently breaking off wins. Based on what the rotation is putting together of late, that time might come sooner than later.

A nice evening on the mound carried Bronson Arroyo into the eighth inning and there was ample offense to back him up -- namely Joey Votto's three-run home run in the seventh inning -- during the Reds' 6-4 win over the Dodgers on Monday night.

"They've thrown well. They threw well in San Francisco," Votto said. "Obviously Bronson threw well tonight. You hope for that every time. Our offense is necessary but the team's priority is always pitching and defense."

The starting staff entered the night ranked 14th in the National League with a 4.23 ERA. But in its last eight games, the Reds rotation is 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA and the starters are 3-0 during the club's 3-2 road trip thus far vs. the Giants and Dodgers.

"If we don't have that, we're not going be able to win ballgames," Arroyo said. "As good as our offense has been numbers-wise throughout the whole year compared with the rest of the league, it's not enough to overcome four- and five-run deficits early in the ballgame. For us to get deep in the ballgame like we are, try to peel back the innings for the guys in the bullpen a little bit, especially going into the hotter months of the season, will be key for us."

Arroyo finished with four earned runs and six hits allowed over 7 2/3 innings with no walks and one strikeout. For the second time in three starts -- both vs. the Dodgers -- he did not allow a home run, and he improved to 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA over his last four starts vs. Los Angeles.

It was a 2-2 game in the top of the seventh against Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda when the Los Angeles defense sparked a long Reds rally. Leadoff batter Ryan Hanigan reached on an error when shortstop Dee Gordon couldn't handle a ground ball cleanly. Paul Janish followed with a grounder to Gordon, but the double play wasn't turned as second baseman Aaron Miles' throw sailed into the dugout, sending Janish to second base on the error.

That enabled Arroyo to drive Janish in with a bloop RBI single near the line in shallow right field.

Reliever Matt Guerrier entered from the Dodgers bullpen and gave up a critical two-out walk to Brandon Phillips. After being down 1-2, Votto worked a full count and drove his three-run shot into the right-field seats for his ninth homer of the season.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead with a two-out rally in the first inning. After Andre Ethier's single, Matt Kemp was hit by a pitch. James Loney's RBI single scored Ethier.

"I felt good out there today," Arroyo said. "I was disappointed in the first because I felt good. I couldn't believe I gave up one run in the first inning. Hitting Kemp was terrible with two outs. After that, I kind of settled in a little bit."

Leading off the Reds' second, Chris Heisey lined a single to left-center field. Miguel Cairo followed with a potential double-play ball to second base. Upon receiving the flip, Gordon did not touch second base before firing to first base, and Heisey was safe. He scored on Janish's RBI single to center field.

Arroyo gave up back-to-back singles to start the fourth inning and the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead when Juan Uribe's 5-4-3 double play scored Kemp.

With two outs in the sixth inning against Kuroda, Heisey attacked a first pitch and sent it to the left-field bleachers with a game-tying homer -- ending a five-game team homerless drought for the Reds.

"There's a lot of aggressive hitters in this lineup so I tried to aim in the black," Kuroda said through a translator. "A lot of balls went out of the strike zone and in a lot of situations, it just became a hitter's count."

Uribe's double play started a string of 11 in a row retired for Arroyo that was snapped in the eighth inning with Tony Gwynn's infield hit to second base. With one out, Gwynn scored on Gordon's RBI triple that shot past a diving Votto down the right-field line. On Miles' sacrifice fly to shallow left field, Gordon slid home just ahead of Heisey's throw.

Bill Bray replaced Arroyo and struck out Ethier to end the eighth inning. Francisco Cordero walked the leadoff batter in the ninth but struck out the side for his 13th save. It was also career save No. 303, moving Cordero into a tie with Doug Jones for 20th on the all-time list.

The third-place Reds (35-33) moved to 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers in the NL Central race. If the starting pitching continues trending upward, the race could tighten some more.

"We have everybody back but Homer [Bailey]," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "This is what you want." Comments