|Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Aaron Harang throws to the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)|
Reds lose to Dodgers 4-1, drop 2nd straight
LOS ANGELES—Mike Leake got hammered in the first inning, then settled down the rest of the way.
It was too late for the Cincinnati Reds, though.
They lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night for their second straight defeat in the finale of the three-game series.
Leake (3-6), who gave up four consecutive hits to open the game. He then got into a groove and gave up just two hits for the rest of his time on the mound.
"If you take away that first inning, he's still pitching," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They even loaded their lineup on him with left-handers. But he's got confidence, and you have to have that. He was throwing more quality strikes and keeping the ball down."
Leake allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked none in the follow-up to his complete-game victory at San Francisco last Friday.
"I wasn't quite loose. I probably should have thrown a few extra pitches in the bullpen," he said. "I was helping them out leaving balls over the middle and not really locating it too well. But after that, I got into a rhythm so I can't really complain."
Aaron Harang (6-5) allowed one run and three hits, struck out five and walked one against his former team. The right-hander last faced the Reds and beat them on June 21, 2002, with Oakland.
"There was probably a little more hyper energy out there for him, and I understand that," third baseman Todd Frazier said. "But he enjoyed Cincinnati. I know that for a fact. He had a blast there. So I don't think he went out there thinking, `Oh, man, I've got to get Cincinnati back,' or anything like that. It was just one of those days when he got us out."
The Reds scored their only run on Devin Mesoraco's fifth homer with one out in the fifth. He sent a 1-0 pitch from Harang into the lower left field seats.
"He was just kind of effectively wild," said Zack Cozart, who went 1 for 4. "He was throwing balls up in the zone and not really leaving anything over the plate. He had good stuff. We didn't put any good swings on him, and it showed."
Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth, lowering his ERA to a NL-best 0.99, before Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 14th save in 17 chances.
"Harang had a lot of life on his fastball in the zone. We just didn't catch up to it and we hit some popups and fly balls," Baker said. "The last two nights we've had a tough time scoring runs. We scored one each day, and you're not going to get it done like that. So we've just got to keep pitching like we've been pitching and hope that our offense comes back to life."
Dee Gordon led off with a double. Luis Cruz had an RBI single and Bobby Abreu's single sent Cruz to third. James Loney singled home Cruz. Abreu scored when Adam Kennedy grounded into a fielder's choice to first baseman Joey Votto, who got the force at second before shortstop Cozart's relay throw went past first base to bring home Abreu.
"It's just one of those things where I obviously didn't throw it good at all," Cozart said. "It was a big play. Instead of being down two, we were down three."
Notes: Dodgers RF Andre Ethier went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28 with a strained left oblique after missing six straight games. He was batting .291 with 23 doubles, 10 home runs and 55 RBIs in 75 games. ... Dodgers CF Matt Kemp, rehabbing a troublesome left hamstring at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, is expected to return to the lineup on July 13 at home against San Diego. ... Reds 3B Scott Rolen said he saw a chiropractor on Wednesday for his lower back spasms that caused him to miss his fourth straight game. "I've been improving every day, so hopefully in the next couple of days I'll get back in the lineup sometime in San Diego." ... The Dodgers reinstated 2B Mark Ellis from the DL after he hurt his left leg in a May 18 game against St. Louis. He didn't start but came in as a pinch-runner for Gordon and Ellis remained in the game at 2B.