Arroyo tries to slow down surging Dodgers

Cincinnati righty Bronson Arroyo tries to cap a terrific month of July on Saturday when the Reds continue a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Arroyo was brilliant on Monday in San Francisco, as he tossed a seven-hit shutout to beat the Giants and improved to 9-7, while lowering his ERA to 3.19.

He is now 3-1 in July with a 1.61 ERA. Even more important, though, Arroyo improved to 6-0 this season when pitching after a Reds loss.

"I try not to pitch any different, but to be honest, sometimes there's an urgency to the mood in the clubhouse," Arroyo said. "This game is very difficult and nobody can go out there and just say, 'I'm going to win the ballgame today.' So, it's partly probably luck and a bit of trying to just really want to not let your team slide downhill again."

Arroyo has faced the Dodgers 15 times (14 starts) and is 5-4 with a 3.67 ERA against them.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, will counter with Korean right-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is 8-3 with a 3.25 ERA. Ryu beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, but wasn't sharp, as he allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Still, with a win on Saturday he'll match Jae Seo for the most wins by a South Korean pitcher in his rookie season.

Ryu has also been nearly unhittable of late at Chavez Ravine, where he is 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA over his last eight starts.

Los Angeles bounced back from a loss in Thursday's opener, as Clayton Kershaw pitched eight strong innings and Hanley Ramirez belted a two-run homer to carry the Dodgers to a 2-1 win.

In a game dominated by defense and great pitching, the Dodgers were able to escape with their seventh win in eight contests to remain a half-game ahead of second-place Arizona in the NL West.

Kershaw (10-6) held the Reds to six hits and had eight strikeouts and didn't walk a batter. The left-hander, who threw 118 pitches, has won five of his last six decisions.

"Tonight was typical Clayton. He works every hitter and he works every inning," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Clayton never gives up."

Los Angeles is a major league best 24-6 since June 21.

Homer Bailey (5-10) scattered seven hits over seven innings, but has lost four consecutive starts since tossing a no-hitter July 2 against the Giants.

The Reds had won four of their previous five games, but went 1-for-9 with men in scoring position Friday night.

Los Angeles won four of six versus the Reds a season ago.