Los Angeles, CA – Aaron Harang threw seven strong innings against his former team and the Dodgers scored three times in the opening frame to beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-1, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Harang (6-5), who spent eight seasons with Cincinnati from 2003-10, gave up three hits, including a home run to Devin Mesoraco in the fifth inning. Harang also had five strikeouts.
This was Harang's second career start against the Reds and first since 2002 during his first major league season with Oakland. He also snapped a four- start winless stretch.
"I felt really good. I stayed through the ball. I felt I had control of the game," Harang said.
Luis Cruz and James Loney had RBI singles for the Dodgers, who have won three of their last four contests following a seven-game skid. It's the first time Los Angeles has won consecutive games since June 9-10 at Seattle.
The Reds, who had just three hits, struck out 10 times. They also fell out of a first-place tie in the NL Central and are one game behind the Pirates.
Mike Leake (3-6), who was charged with six hits and two earned runs, came into Wednesday riding a nine-start unbeaten string.
Dee Gordon led off the LA first with a double and scored on a Cruz bouncer that went over the head of a drawn-in Joey Votto at first base and into right field.
Singles to right from Bobby Abreu and Loney created a 2-0 margin, and a miscue by the Reds moved the lead to 3-0. Shortstop Zack Cozart, in an attempt to finish a double play off the bat of Adam Kennedy, threw the ball away at first base, allowing Abreu to score.
"I helped them early. I left the balls over the middle," Leake said. "I located the ball well after the first inning."
Votto flied out to center to strand runners at the corners in the third.
Mesoraco homered to left with one out in the fifth, but Harang didn't allow a hit the rest of the way and he exited in favor of Ronald Belisario to start the eighth. Belisario struck out the side and Kenley Jansen fanned two in a perfect ninth to earn his 14th save of the year.
In between, the Dodgers padded their lead in the eighth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Kennedy. Gordon stole a pair of bases in the frame, one on a poor call at third when Mesoraco threw a perfect ball to Todd Frazier. Gordon was lifted from the game after hurting his thumb on the slide. He was diagnosed with a dislocated right thumb.
The Dodgers put right fielder Andre Ethier on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a left oblique strain. They also reinstated second baseman Mark Ellis off the DL. Ellis had suffered a left leg injury on May 18...Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs was hitless in four at-bats and is mired in a career-high 0-for-28 slump...Gordon leads the majors with 30 steals.