Dodgers 2, Reds 0
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Randy Wolf got through an uneventful first inning and the rest of the way was smooth sailing.
Wolf struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Cincinnati 2-0 Friday night for their seventh consecutive win over the Reds.
“I just wanted to go out there and start off being aggressive and go after guys,” he said.
Wolf (4-3) allowed four hits and walked none in winning for the first time since April 20 against Pittsburgh. The left-hander has struggled in the first inning this season, giving up runs in five of his previous seven outings, including the last four.
“I realized it was a mental issue; I had to get through that mental barrier,” he said. “I would like to have a couple games where the first inning isn’t an issue, then I don’t have to answer questions about the first inning anymore.”
This time, Wolf gave up just one hit in a quiet first. The Reds advanced only one runner to third in the game.
“My mechanics were a lot better. I had more power behind my pitches,” he said. “I finally have my fastball. I haven’t had it for a while.”
Wolf reached the seventh inning for the first time this season.
“That’s a big milestone for him,” manager Grady Little said.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit a leadoff single and Jeff Conine drew a walk from Saito to put runners on first and second. Alex Gonzalez tried to advance the runners with a sacrifice but popped up his bunt attempt. Saito then got Adam Dunn to ground into a fielder’s choice and struck out Juan Castro to finish off the five-hitter.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (2-3) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings, walked four and struck out two. The right-hander twice loaded the bases in the first, when he threw more than 40 pitches. The first time Russell Martin drove in two runs; the second time Andy LaRoche struck out to end the inning.
“It was kind of a funny inning,” Arroyo said. “They were guessing with me a lot and I had to change my game plan after the first two innings. I didn’t want to give in to the middle of the plate because those guys were taking pretty good swings.”
Nomar Garciaparra went 3-for-3 and scored a run for the Dodgers, who swept the six-game series from the Reds last season for the first time.
Martin, the Dodgers’ leading hitter at home, singled up the middle with two outs in the first, scoring Juan Pierre, who singled, and Garciaparra, who walked.
“I made a bad pitch on Martin,” Arroyo said. “I was trying to go with a heater in and I missed up and away and he hit it.”
Pierre made a nifty catch in the second with a runner on and one out. He backpedaled furiously on a ball hit by Castro to the warning track, fell on his rear and juggled the ball before holding on.
“That might have been the play of the game,” Wolf said.
Garciaparra went 3-for-25 on the Dodgers’ recent seven-game road trip. … Reds 3B Ryan Freel was scratched because of the flu. … The Dodgers began a stretch of 15 consecutive games in Southern California. They opened a six-game homestand and will play three games in Anaheim before returning home for six more games. … Dodgers owner Frank McCourt donated $100,000 to help rebuild the city’s Griffith Park, where a wildfire destroyed more than 800 acres this week.