Cincinnati, OH – Joey Votto hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning and Mike Leake retired 13 of the final 14 Dodgers he faced to lift the Cincinnati Reds over Los Angeles, 3-2, in a potential playoff matchup.
"I was not very happy with the results during our (recent) stretch. In these games you're only as good as your last at-bat. I'm not going to get ahead of myself," said Votto.
Leake (12-6) shook off an early two-run homer from Hanley Ramirez and allowed just five hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings to keep the Reds inching towards a postseason berth.
Cincinnati had just taken three of four from the St. Louis Cardinals to maintain its stranglehold on the NL's second wild card spot.
The NL West-leading Dodgers were forced into emptying their bullpen after Chris Capuano exited in the second inning with a groin injury. Don Mattingly used six relievers, and J.P. Howell (2-1) took the loss after serving up Votto's home run.
"This is the hardest time of the year to win games. I think when we were winning during that huge stretch. Now, we lose when we would win those games," Mattingly said.
Four batters into the game, Ramirez annihilated a Leake offering four rows into the second deck in left field. Yasiel Puig beat out an infield single prior to Ramirez's moonshot, which traveled an estimated 432 feet.
The Dodgers' bats went quiet from there, however, and Votto led the Reds' comeback.
The All-Star first baseman led off the fourth with a base hit, advanced to third on Jay Bruce's single and scored Cincinnati's first run on Ryan Ludwick's double-play ground ball.
Then in the fifth, with a runner on second and two outs, Votto golfed a low offering from Howell and sent it barely over the wall in left field for his 22nd home run of the year.
Leake was pulled after giving up a two-out single in the eighth, and Manny Parra retired Carl Crawford with the only pitch he threw.
The Reds wasted a bases-loaded, no-out chance in the eighth, but Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the fourth straight day, struck out the heart of the Dodgers order -- Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Ramirez -- in succession to post his 35th save this season.
Capuano retired five of the six batters he faced. He was on the mound because Hyun-Jin Ryu had his start pushed to next week due to a stiff back ... Leake had a 7.22 ERA over his previous six starts ... Reds shortstop Zack Cozart extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a single in the fourth ... Puig, back in Los Angeles' lineup after suffering a mild right knee strain on Monday, went 1-for-4.