The Cincinnati Reds could clinch the NL Central title for the second time in three years on Saturday. In fact, they may secure the championship before taking the field for the second portion of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Reds have a magic number of one to win the division and can wrap it up if the St. Louis Cardinals falter against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field today.
The Dodgers are also fighting for a spot in the postseason. They're two games behind the Cardinals for the second wild card berth.
Matt Kemp's two-out, two-run single in the 10th inning boosted LA to a 3-1 win last night.
Ronald Belisario (8-1) struck out five during two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win in the opener of this three-game series, while Brandon League worked around a walk in the 10th to record his fourth save of the season.
In the top half, the Dodgers loaded the bases against Sam LeCure (3-3) with one out on a hit batsman, a bunt and a walk. Sean Marshall was then able to strike out Andre Ethier, but Kemp pushed across a pair when he slapped an 0-2 fastball into shallow right field.
"Today was like a double shot, you know, because we picked up a game, so it was not just a win," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo did his part, allowing just one run on six hits over eight innings while adding a game-tying RBI single in the fifth.
"He pitched ahead of the hitters and with everything. We've seen that many, many times. It was a great performance. It was just one of those things where we just couldn't get any runs for him," Reds acting manager Chris Speier said.
Reds manager Dusty Baker missed his third straight game with an irregular heartbeat. Bench coach Speier is now 6-1 as Cincinnati's interim manager during a pair of Baker suspensions (2008, 2010) and his current illness.
Mat Latos, who doesn't have a decision in his last two starts, gets the ball for the Reds. The right-hander is 7-2 in his last 16 starts. He's 1-6 in eight games versus the Dodgers.
Stephen Fife makes the fifth start of his major league career today. The righty, who has yet to record a big league win, struck out nine batters in a no-decision to the Cardinals on Sunday.
The Dodgers won two of three from the Reds at Dodger Stadium July 2-4 and are 21-12 all-time at Great American Ball Park. Since 2008, Los Angeles is 21-12 versus Cincinnati overall.