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Francisco Cordero closes out Reds' victory over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Dusty Baker sat at his desk after the game,
scribbling Doug Jones' name on the lineup card he removed from the
dugout wall and signing it for closer Francisco Cordero -- along
with a couple of copies of the batting order slips that go to the
umpires.

The Cincinnati Reds manager made the gesture as a show of
appreciation for the 36-year-old right-hander, who tied Jones for
20th place on the career saves list Monday night by striking out
the final three batters to preserve Bronson Arroyo's 6-4 victory
over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers narrowed the gap to 6-4 in the eighth with a
run-scoring triple by Dee Gordon, his first RBI in the majors, and
a sacrifice fly by Aaron Miles. But Bill Bray struck out Andre Ethier to end the inning and Cordero fanned James Loney,
pinch-hitter Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro following a walk to NL
home run leader Matt Kemp.

It was Cordero's 13th save in 15 chances this season and the
303rd of his career, one shy of Jeff Montgomery for 19th place and
six away from Hall of Famer Goose Gossage.

"It's not over yet. I mean, almost every day he's passing
somebody," Baker said. "I think he can pass a whole bunch of guys
by the time this year's over with. We just have to give him ample
opportunities. We haven't had a bunch of opportunities this year,
and they usually come in bunches. But he's throwing the ball as
well as I've seen him since we got him, with consistent command and
control, velocity and confidence."

Arroyo (5-6) outpitched Hiroki Kuroda for the second time in 11
days and singled home the go-ahead run for the Reds, who got homers
from Joey Votto and Chris Heisey in the opener of a three-game
series.

Arroyo allowed four runs and seven hits over 7 2/3 innings with
no walks in a rematch of his June 3 duel with Kuroda, which
Cincinnati won 2-1. The Reds' right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA
in his last four starts against the Dodgers, after going 1-4 with a
4.67 ERA in his other nine starts against them.

"Sometimes during the year you get locked in with a team that
you feel good about," Arroyo said. "I haven't been feeling
particularly great all season long, and the last time I faced them
at our place, I threw a much worse game and got away with it and
won 2-1. Tonight I felt like I had good, crisp stuff. It was cool
out there, so I wasn't exerting too much energy and my pitch count
was pretty low."

Kuroda (5-8) was charged with four runs -- two earned -- and seven
hits over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and no walks. The
36-year-old right-hander is 0-5 with a 4.39 ERA in his last five
starts, but his teammates have totaled just nine runs during that
stretch.

The Reds capitalized on a pair of errors by the Dodgers' infield
in the seventh to break open a 2-2 game. Gordon, a 23-year-old
shortstop making his Dodger Stadium debut after getting called up
from Triple-A during the team's 5-5 road trip, botched a routine
grounder by Ryan Hanigan leading off the inning.

"I committed the error, but you've got to keep your head up and
keep going," Gordon said.

Paul Janish followed with an apparent double-play grounder to
Gordon, but the relay to first by Miles sailed into the photo well --allowing Janish to take an extra base on the error. Arroyo drove
him in with his second single of the game, chasing Kuroda, and
Votto hit a three-run homer off Matt Guerrier after a two-out walk
to Brandon Phillips.

Votto, the reigning NL MVP, is vying for his first batting title
with a .333 average. The home run was his ninth of the season and
first since his three-run shot against Clayton Kershaw on June 4 at
Cincinnati.

"The guy is very confident and he has a tremendous idea of what
he's doing out there because he studies," Baker said. "He stays
all business and comes to play. I mean, he has fun, but he's
basically a no-nonsense guy when the game starts. He's just a
pleasure to be around and he's very easy to manage."

Gordon's first error in the big leagues compounded an egregious
mistake he made in the second inning -- when he failed to touch
second base on a potential double-play grounder by Miguel Cairo
after taking the short flip from Miles. That cost the Dodgers an
out -- and a run, as Janish drove in Heisey with a two-out single.

"I could have gotten closer to the base. That was a miscue on
my part," Gordon said. "It was a close play, but you've got to
make sure you get one."

Loney drove in the first run with a first-inning single
after Arroyo gave up a two-out single by Ethier and hit Kemp with a
pitch.

Kemp scored the Dodgers' second run on a double-play grounder by
Juan Uribe in the third. But Heisey tied it 2-all in the sixth with
a two-out solo homer on the first pitch, causing an exasperated
Kuroda to put both hands on his head before the ball landed in the
left-field pavilion.

Gordon, the Dodgers' minor league player of the year in 2009 and
the son of former major league closer Tom Gordon, made back-to-back
defensive gems in the third, and another in the sixth.

Game notes
Reds 3B Scott Rolen, who fouled a ball off his left foot
in the second inning Sunday and finished the game, was not in the
lineup for the opener of the three-game series. ... The two homers
ended a five-game drought by the Reds, their longest since a
five-game stretch in June 2006.