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CIN@LAD: Harang shuts down his former team in win

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers regained first place Wednesday night but likely lost their shortstop as Dee Gordon dislocated his right thumb in a 4-1 win over the Reds.

Gordon, who started both rallies, was injured on a headfirst slide while stealing third base in the eighth inning, having already stolen second base after a leadoff walk. Earlier in the day, Andre Ethier was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle and Mark Ellis was activated.

The injury put a damper on a July 4 night when Aaron Harang delivered seven quality innings for his first win since June 7 and the Dodgers finally won a series after losing four straight.

"I hope it looked worse than it is, but we already know it's not good," Harang said of the latest injury. "We've just got to keep our heads up and keep going. We've had big injuries throughout the season. It seems like one after another, we get somebody back and another one gets hurt. The guys just have to step up, the pitchers have to execute and keep us in the game and we have to keep going."

Harang did his part, limiting his former club to three hits while striking out five, raising his record to 6-5 and lowering his ERA to 3.51. He lobbied to stay in the game past the seventh inning.

"It was a combination of [facing his former club] and that I felt good," he said, having thrown only 84 pitches. "I was never really in a situation where I had to pitch out of a jam, just doing what I needed to do."

He was gifted a three-run lead at the end of the first inning, the Dodgers opening the game with four consecutive hits, triggered by Gordon's double off the box-seat railing in right field that missed a home run by two feet.

Luis Cruz, Tuesday night's hero, followed with an RBI single inside first base off Mike Leake. Singles by Bobby Abreu and James Loney brought around Cruz, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

With runners on first and second, Adam Kennedy bounced to first baseman Joey Votto for a force of Loney at second, but shortstop Zack Cozart's relay to first base was wide of Leake covering and Abreu scored with Kennedy taking second.

Harang lost his shutout with one out in the fifth when Devin Mesoraco homered into the left-field box seats. He lobbied to stay in the game after seven innings, but manager Don Mattingly was committed to Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen for the final two innings.

"I tried to stay out there, but I had the feeling I couldn't talk him out of it," Harang said.

Belisario merely struck out the side, lowering his ERA to a sport-leading 0.99 and kicking off his campaign for Comeback Player of the Year.

"That's my goal," said Belisario, who missed the 2011 season after a positive cocaine test. "I'm looking for that. I'm super happy to be back here helping the team."

Jansen repeated his successful pattern of the night before, alarming Mattingly with a first-pitch cutter of only 88 mph, but going on to strike out a pair in a perfect inning for his 14th save.

"Yeah, I do worry a little bit when I see that," Mattingly conceded. "I've asked Rick [Honeycutt] about it, and he says it's mechanics. They still don't hit it, so he's doing something right. He was 96 when he came up. We haven't been using him as much and maybe the big guys need more work."

Jansen said he feels fine.

"I'm still being aggressive, but I'm under control," he said. "When I come in, it's very important to throw strike one. It's weird. I don't know what causes it. I'm not looking at the radar gun. I just try to get ahead and attack. When I come in, I feel pumped up."

Leake recovered from the first inning and shut the Dodgers down over the next six innings, retiring the last 13 batters he faced before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

"Their guy really settled down, but we got him early," Mattingly said. "He got rolling pretty good and we didn't do a lot with him."

Gordon also set up the Dodgers' final run on his ill-fated steal of third, his Major League-leading 30th this year. Cruz followed with a walk and pinch-hitter Juan Rivera hit a bouncer to third. Ellis, running for Gordon, made his return from the disabled list by extending a rundown so the trailing runners could reach second and third. Kennedy's sacrifice fly brought home Cruz with the final run.

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