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Dodgers Stymied by Arroyo, Reds in 5-2 Loss

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A day after the Dodgers exploded for eight runs, Cincinnati Reds’ starter Bronson Arroyo (W, 14-7) and his Rockettes-style high kick out of the wind-up confounded the Dodgers for seven innings in their 5-2 loss.

“He teases you a lot where he very rarely throws two pitches the same speed,” manager Joe Torre said about Arroyo.

One of the few Dodgers to touch Arroyo all day was Matt Kemp who led off the bottom of the second inning with a homer 413 feet to straight-away center field, his second homer in as many days, for the Dodgers first run.

The Dodgers also got Arroyo in a jam in the fifth inning with runners on first and second thanks to one-out singles by Casey Blake and Jamey Carroll. AJ Ellis, with a 3-for-3 day proving he doesn’t want to head back to Triple-A Albuquerque once Rod Barajas meets up with the team on Tuesday in Milwaukee, hit an RBI single to tie the game 2-2. Arroyo got out of the inning after Clayton Kershaw laid down a sacrifice bunt by getting Scott Podsednik to fly out to centerfield.

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“I told him you’re putting a lot of stress on me,” Torre said of Ellis’ performance. “I’m happy for him. He’s been working hard. He’s been working with [hitting instructor Jeff] Pentland and [hitting coach] Donny Mattingly on his hitting stroke.”

“I felt good at the plate today,” Ellis commented on his day. “Arroyo is a tough matchup for righties.”

But Ellis’ mood was tempered on the loss.

“It’s a loss in the middle of a pennant race,” Ellis continued. “It’s not a good game. We came up short against a good team.”

For Dodger starter Kershaw (L, 11-8) the first inning was his undoing. Granted he struck out the side in the first inning, but he also gave up two singles and two walks that gave the Reds the early 2-0 lead. In his 26 starts for the Dodgers this season, Kershaw has yet to retire the side in order in the first inning.

Had that first inning not happened, the Joey Votto solo homer wouldn’t have resounded as loudly in the sixth inning that allowed the Reds to reclaim the lead 3-2.

“A solo home run isn’t going to kill you,” Kershaw said. “It’s the two runs in the first. That’s what did it today.”

Jonathan Broxton after pitching a perfect ninth inning last night had trouble in the ninth inning today loading the bases with one out. While a collective sigh could be heard after he struck out pinch hitter Scott Rolen, the boos returned when Votto once again came through with a two-run single to give the Reds the crucial insurance runs.

“He was two different guys today. He came in looked like he was feeling for it, then all of a sudden he strikes Rolen out and really gets ahead of Votto with very impressive fastballs away. He just couldn’t put Votto away.”

In the end the issue for the Dodgers is offense. According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, the Dodgers starters had a 1.91 ERA and averaged 6.71 innings pitched per start this week while losing four of the seven games.

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“It comes down to not putting enough points on the board,” manager Joe Torre acknowledged. “We really put a lot of stress on our starters by virtue of every single pitch meaning something.”

In the middle of the third inning, Vin Scully’s return for 2011 was announced on DodgerVision. However many of the 44,788 folks who deigned to show up on the 93-degree day gave Scully a standing ovation.