CINCINNATI (AP)—So many times on the road, Derek Lowe deserved to win. In each of his last 11 tries, he came up short for one reason or another—no run support, no help from the bullpen, no breaks.
On a night when he felt awful, everything finally went his way.
Lowe earned his first road win since last August by pitching into the sixth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers extended their season-long domination of the Cincinnati Reds with a 6-1 victory on Wednesday night.
James Loney had a solo homer and a run-scoring double off Bronson Arroyo (4-6), sending the Dodgers to their sixth victory in seven games against the Reds this season. Juan Pierre broke the game open with a two-run triple in the seventh.
“I don’t know what it is about the Dodgers,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “They beat us pretty good.”
Lowe (5-6) hadn’t beaten anybody on the road since Aug. 22 in Philadelphia. He went 0-6 in his next 11 starts away from Dodger Stadium.
It wasn’t entirely his fault. Lowe often has pitched well enough, but the offense has let him down. This time, he knew he’d need a little help and a little luck.
Hiroki Kuroda was scheduled to start on Wednesday, but told the team a day earlier that he had a sore pitching shoulder. By that point, Lowe had already done a strenuous off-day workout. He was moved up a day and took Kuroda’s place, but knew not to expect much.
Lowe gave up three hits, including Edwin Encarnacion’s solo homer, and matched his season high with six strikeouts. Manager Joe Torre took him out after his 85th pitch in the sixth inning with Los Angeles ahead 4-1.
“I may be prouder of this game than any,” Lowe said. “It was an absolute struggle from the first pitch. You go out there and go as far as you can.”
He finally broke through on the road against Arroyo, one of his teammates on Boston’s 2004 World Series championship team.
“He pitched a great game,” Arroyo said. “Once we got behind, you knew we weren’t going to catch up.”
Arroyo is in his own slump, going 0-2 in his last four starts with a 6.33 ERA. He gave up seven hits and six runs in 6 1-3 innings, and threw a wild pitch that let in a run.
The Reds lost for the 11th time in 16 games, a slump set up by their all-or-nothing offense. Cincinnati is 2-6 on a homestand that concludes Thursday, scoring a total of 17 runs. They’re batting .179 on the homestand and are hitless in their last 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team offensively,” Baker said. “We score a lot of runs, then we don’t score any. We need Dr. Jekyll to show up.”
Loney has been a big problem for the Reds all season, batting .400 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs. The first baseman is having a big month overall, batting .396 in June. He hit his sixth homer in the fourth inning, then doubled home a run that made it 4-1 in the sixth.
Loney has become more selective and worked deeper into counts during his at-bats this month.
“When I see a good pitch come, I should swing,” Loney said. “That’s the way I like to think about it. I might only get one good pitch per at-bat. I don’t want to miss it.”
“It’s what managers like to see, when you score in one inning and another inning and another inning,” Torre said. “It’s something we haven’t done in a while, sustain some offense.”
Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the Reds’ lineup for a second consecutive game because of illness. Rookie Jay Bruce took his spot in right field and made two of the game’s two best defensive plays. Bruce made a diving catch on Pierre’s liner in the third, then an over-the-shoulder catch of Blake DeWitt’s drive to the warning track.
Kuroda was diagnosed with inflammation in the shoulder, received a cortisone shot and will miss his next start. Chan Ho Park will take his place Saturday against Cleveland. … SS Angel Berroa dived into the stands to catch a foul ball in the ninth. … The Reds sent RHP Homer Bailey back to the minors and activated OF Norris Hopper from the DL. Bailey was 0-3 in his three starts this season. … With Corey Patterson struggling, Reds 1B Joey Votto in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career. He went 1-for-4. … Bruce singled in the sixth inning, ending an 0-for-16 streak.