LOS ANGELES (AP) - Rookie shortstop Dee Gordon has tried to bring energy to the Los Angeles Dodgers with his defense and speed. Of course, he can only do so much for a team that still can't seem to find any traction 21/2 months into the season.
Johnny Cueto pitched seven sharp innings, Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Dodgers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Cueto (4-2) limited the Dodgers to an unearned run and five hits in a reprise of his June 4 matchup with Clayton Kershaw at Cincinnati, where neither got a decision in the Dodgers' 11-8 victory in 11 innings. It was the 100th career start by Cueto, who beat Los Angeles for the first time in five starts.
"Cueto was mixing speeds pretty good and hitting his spots," Dodgers first baseman James Loney said. "He got me on a slider and a changeup. He's a battler and he's got pretty good movement on his pitches."
Dodgers cleanup hitter Matt Kemp singled, struck out and grounded into a double play against Cueto after coming in 5 for 9 against him with two homers. The hit came on a blooper over first base and just out of the reach of Votto in the fourth, but Kemp took too wide a turn at first base and was erased in a 3-4-1-6-4-1 rundown.
"Johnny looked great," Votto said. "He pounds the zone and locates his fastball. He's aggressive and he seems fearless. I mean, Matt Kemp's got 20 homers and he's hitting .330, and Johnny's going right after him. That says a lot."
It was hard to blame Gordon for the outcome of this one. The 23-year-old leadoff hitter singled and scored in the first inning and made two more impressive plays at shortstop. He has quickly become a thrill a minute since his arrival in the big leagues June 6.
Jamey Carroll's hard but clean takeout slide at second base enabled the Dodgers to score an unearned run in the first. Gordon led off with a single and Carroll walked before Andre Ethier hit what appeared to be an easy double-play grounder to shortstop Paul Janish. But Carroll upended second baseman Brandon Phillips, whose hurried relay to first glanced off Votto's glove as the fleet-footed Gordon sped home.
Gordon bunted his way on with one out in the sixth and continued to second on Cueto's throwing error. He stole third with two outs, but was stranded when Ethier struck out.
"Dee Gordon was keeping them in the game and tried to win the game all by himself in a number of ways," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's an athlete - a big-time athlete. He sure can run, and play shortstop. And he has something to throw with, too.
"His dad (ex-major league closer Tom Gordon) was telling me about him when he was with the Phillies and his son was coming out of high school. I told our team about him, but I don't think he was on our radar at the time. So they've got a good one over there."
Gordon is listed at 5-foot-11 and 150 points. But Baker said that shouldn't make a difference.
"Baseball's a game where size helps, but it's not that important if you have skill," he said.
The Reds assured themselves of a winning West Coast trip, something their starting pitchers have gone to great lengths to achieve. Cincinnati's rotation is 6-1 with a 1.94 ERA over the last nine games.
"It's very tough to do that on the West Coast," Votto said. "Before I was called up, I think we had like half a decade since we had a winning West Coast road trip. We had a couple last year, and this year we've been very competitive - especially against two good teams.
"I think the Dodgers are a little underrated, and the Giants are World Series champs. So to be able to split a series in San Francisco and then come here and win the first two is a big deal."
Logan Ondrusek pitched a scoreless eighth and Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 14th save in 16 chances and the 304th of his career, tying Jeff Montgomery for 19th place.
Cordero walked Kemp with one out, then threw over to first base six times before Kemp stole second and scored on Loney's single. But pinch-hitter Casey Blake struck out and Rod Barajas popped out with the potential tying run at second.
Kershaw allowed a run and four hits over seven innings in his 100th big league appearance and 98th start. The 23-year-old lefty warmed up for the eighth, but manager Don Mattingly lifted him after the Reds sent up Miguel Cairo to pinch-hit.
Cairo greeted Blake Hawksworth (1-2) with a single and advanced on Drew Stubbs' first sacrifice bunt of the season. He was held at third on Phillips' sharp single to left, but scored when Votto greeted Scott Elbert with a single on the left-hander's second pitch.
Stubbs drove in the Reds' third run with a ninth-inning single off Mike MacDougal.
NOTES: Ethier has gone five games (22 at_bats) since his last RBI and 17 games (63 at_bats) since his last home run. ... Brooklyn Dodgers great Don Newcombe, the 1956 Cy Young Award winner and NL MVP, spent his 85th birthday at Chavez Ravine. ... Kershaw had a 12-pitch at-bat his first time up, fouling off six 3-2 offerings before lining a single to left-center for his ninth hit of the season. ... Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, sidelined since May 2 with a bone bruise on his elbow, threw a simulated game.
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