Stults Gets the Call, Does the Job

As the old song goes, "Happiness Lies Right Under Your Eyes, Right in Your Own Backyard." That's how the club found Blake DeWitt and with both Brad Penny and Hiroki Kuroda down and out with arm ailments, they made a call to Las Vegas and picked up Eric Stults. He gave them six strong innings to key a 7-4 win and a sweep of Cincinnati.

The Dodgers are 7-1 vs. the Reds and hadn't won three in a row since their three-game sweep of the Reds in Los Angeles from May 19-21.

Only a error kept Stults from working seven innings. He left after six and allowed six hits three runs (one earned), struck out five and walked one, giving the club just what it needed when it was needed.

"He was great, with both the bat and his arm," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "If we play clean, he would have gotten through the seventh inning."

Stults is assured of at least one more start, Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox, and probably another one June 29 against the Angels. But with Kuroda due off the DL on June 28 and Penny on June 30, that's probably about it.

"I didn't change my approach against the Reds," Stults said. "My style in Vegas was to be aggressive and not try to be too fine. Once you get ahead in the count and you get a hitter on the defensive, you obviously have a lot better chance of getting outs."

The Dodgers arrived in Cincinnati in a hitting slump, scoring one run or fewer in three of their previous five games and racked up 14 hits good for seven runs.

Kemp had only two extra-base hits in his last 12 games and matched that total in his first three at-bats. Kemp led off the fourth inning with his sixth homer, and doubled home two more runs in the fifth.

Russell Martin had an RBI double, and Juan Pierre's squeeze bunt drove in a run and went for a single when no one covered first base. James Loney had three more hits -- he's batting .448 against the Reds this season -- and drove in a run.

Loney boosted his hitting streak to 16 games and has a sizzling .421 average in June.

Great Start
Stults allowed only a single over the first three innings while the Dodgers gave him a single run in the first on doubles by Jeff Kent and Russell Martin.

Stults might have been thinking that run might be all he was going to get but Los Angeles scored two in the fourth on Matt Kemp's sixth homer into the right field seats. Following singles by Angel Berroa and a hit-and-run single by Stults himself, Juan Pierre squeezed in the second run and beat it out for a hit to boost the margin to 3-0.

Two more Dodger runs crossed the plate in the fifth when Martin walked, James Loney singled and Kemp slammed a two-run double to the wall in right-center for a 5-0 lead. Loney singled to score DeWitt in the sixth and it looked like both Stults and the Dodgers were on Easy Street.

Stults took his shutout and the 6-1 lead into the seventh inning but nothing much broke his way at that point. The nightmare started when he surrendered a four-pitch walk and a ground ball to second base with "6-4-3" written on it that went through Kent's legs. Stults and was given the rest of the afternoon off by manager Joe Torre.

Scott Proctor, Joe Beimel and Jonathan Broxton followed as Cincinnati sent 10 men to the plate in the inning, scoring four times, leaving the bases loaded and Torre squirming on the bench.

Loney dropped a hit into short left and hustled it into a double and his third safety of the game in the top of the ninth. Andre Ethier nearly took the Cincinnati pitcher's leg off with a scorcher into center to give Los Angeles a three-run lead.

Takashi Saito converted his 10th save in 13 opportunities, pitching around a single in the ninth. It was his second save in the series.

In the first game of the series, Saito picked up his first save since May 21. Saito's first two outs were strikeouts, meaning before a game-ending ground out, the right-hander's last 11 outs had been recorded via the strikeout. Overall, 14 of his past 17 outs have been on strikes and he has struck out 41 batters in 29.2 innings, putting him more than halfway to last year's total of 78, accomplished in 64.1 innings.  

Stults Solid
The 28-year-old Stults started twice for the Dodgers in 2006 and five times in 2007 while "commuting" from Las Vegas. Overall he was was 2-4 with a 5.75 (36 ER/56.1 IP) in 18 career big league games (seven starts) before getting the call to report to Cincinnati. The left-hander was born in Plymouth, Indiana and played his college ball in Bethel, IN, which are both about four hours from Cincinnati.

At Las Vegas, Stults was 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 14 starts and batters were hitting .259 against him. In his last three starts, the 28-year old was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA (5 ER/18.0 IP) and 14 strikeouts.

The Dodgers moved to 343-38 and stayed 4 1/2 behind the Diamondbacks. Arizona and Colorado won (and the Rockies are 7-3 in their last 10 games), San Diego lost and the Giants were not scheduled.

Clayton Kershaw gets a chance to keep the mini-streak alive tonight when the Dodgers host Cleveland.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	100 221 001-7
Cincinnati	000 000 400-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	5  0  1  1  .280
DeWitt 3b	4  1  1  0  .277
Kent 2b	        5  1  1  0  .248
 Maza 2b	0  0  0  0  .245 
Martin c	3  1  1  1  .306
Loney 1b	4  2  3  1  .307
Kemp cf	        5  1  2  3  .293
Ethier rf	5  0  2  1  .288
Berroa ss	5  1  2  1  .194
Stults p	3  0  1  0  .333
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .111	
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	40 7 14 7
  Cincinnati	36 4  9 4

 Errors- Martin (7), Kent 5). 2b hits- Kent (9),
Matin (13), Kemp (16). Loney (16), Ethier (17).
HR- Kemp (6). RBI- Martin (33), Kemp 3 (42),
Pierre (23), Loney (35), Ethier (28). SB- DeWitt
(2). LOB- Los Angeles 11, Cincinnati (8). DP-
Kent, Berroa and Loney.

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Stults (1-0)	6.0  6  3-1  1  5  1.50
Proctor	        0.1  2  1-1  1  1  5.87
Beimel	        0.1  0  0-0  0  1  1.23
Broxton	        1.1  1  0-0  1  0  3.94
Saito (sv 10)	1.0  1  0-0  0  1  2.12
 WP- Broxton. HBP- DeWitt. T- 3:21.
Att- 30,136.
Kuroda to Go On DL
Starter Hiroki Kuroda will soon be placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis and an impingement in his right shoulder. The club will likely promote a reliever from Triple-A Las Vegas. Manager Joe Torre didn't say who the reliever would be, but hinted that Justin Orenduff is a strong possibility because he's on the 40-man roster. Ramon Troncoso is also a possibility.

Reliever Chan Ho Park will start for Kuroda on Saturday against the Indians. Barring any setback, Kuroda should return to the rotation June 28 against the Angels.

Kuroda was sent home prior to the series opener with the Reds after informing Torre that he was experiencing soreness in his right shoulder. He underwent an MRI exam and got a cortisone shot in Los Angeles with team physician Dr. Neal Ellattrache.

Dodger Blue Notes
--Los Angeles had five doubles, matching its season high. ...The Dodgers on signed third-round Draft pick OF Kyle Russell (Texas) and fifth-round pick RHP JonMichael Redding (Florida CC). ... The Dodgers will receive an "Award of Excellence Star" on in celebration of the organization's 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles. The Dodgers will be the first sports franchise ever to receive such an honor and among those expected to attend are Joe Torre, Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda, Jaime Jarrin Fernando Valenzuela, Eric Karros, Ron Cey, Russell Martin and Andre Ethier. ...Following the Dodgers' Saturday game with the Indians, stick around for the 50th annual Hollywood Stars Game. The game was coordinated for the first time and for many years after by concessionaire Danny Goodman. Honorary team captains Russell Martin and James Loney will each lead a star-studded squad of about 20 celebrities in a softball game. Among those scheduled to appear include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jon Lovitz, James Denton, David Arquette, Sean Astin, James Van Der Beek, Adam Carolla, Tom Arnold, Cristian de la Fuente, Garry Marshall, and George Thorogood.  .

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