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Tuesday, July 3, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Dodgers 3, Reds 1

By Ramona Shelburne


LOS ANGELES -- You'll have to pardon the Dodgers if they had one eye on their game Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night and the other eye on a Class-A game going on about 40 miles east.

That would be Rancho Cucamonga, where All-Star centerfielder Matt Kemp was making his first rehabilitation start with a hamstring injury that has kept him out since the end of May.

For the first time in a while, the view in both places was a good one. The Dodgers beat the Reds 3-1 behind another solid outing from lefty Chris Capuano and some timely hitting by Elian Herrera (2-for-2, 1 run) and recent call-up Luis Cruz (1-for-3, RBI, 2B).

Kemp made it through his game unscathed as well, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a strikeout. If all goes well the rest of the week, Kemp is scheduled to return to the Dodgers' lineup on July 13, the first day after the All-Star break. And with the way the Dodgers offense has been struggling without him, it can't come soon enough.

The Good:

Snub this. Capuano (9-3) took a no decision in his first game since being snubbed by NL All-Star manager Tony LaRussa, but he still proved a point. Capuano struck out six, walked three and gave up one earned run in six solid innings, matched against fellow All-Star snub Johnny Cueto (3 ER, 7 H, 7 IP).

Shut the door. The Dodgers received bad news before the game about right-hander Todd Coffey, who could be lost for the season because of an elbow injury, but the rest of the bullpen picked it up in his stead, shutting the door on the Reds over the final three innings to preserve the win. Josh Lindblom, Scott Elbert, Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen combined to allow just two runners.

Loney loosening up? It's just three games, and we've seen little flashes of this before, but James Loney has quietly gone 4-for-10 over his last three games, including a sharp single in the seventh that started a two-run rally.

The Bad:

Coffey grounded. The Dodgers received terrible news before the game about right-hander Coffey, who suffered a significant elbow injury in Monday's loss and was put on the disabled list. If you missed his trademark sprints in from the bullpen, you might have to catch them on YouTube for a while.

Ethier too. The Dodgers received even more bad news when rightfielder Andre Ethier felt a twinge in his side during a pregame batting session and will probably be out through the All-Star break now, as the Dodgers continue to take a conservative stance and try to get all their regulars healthy for the second half of the year.

Squeezed out? Tony Gwynn Jr. failed to get a squeeze bunt down in the seventh inning and went hitless in three at-bats, making him hitless in his last three games. It wasn't exactly Gwynn's fault though as the pitch came in high and tight. And it didn't turn out badly for the Dodgers, either. The ball got past catcher Ryan Hanigan and Cruz raced home to score.