CINCINNATI (AP) — The NL West leaders have a new concern about their pitching staff.
Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano strained his groin on a pitch Friday night, forcing him out of the game in the second inning. The Cincinnati Reds rallied for a 3-2 win behind Joey Votto, who emerged from a slump with a single and a two-run homer.
Capuano got hurt on his 32nd pitch, grimacing after a delivery to Zack Cozart. Already this week, the Dodgers had to push Hyun-Jin Ryu back from a scheduled start because of a sore back.
“It is something I’ve had before but I’ve been able to keep it at bay,” Capuano said. “I just felt it grab on a pitch to Cozart. I didn’t hear it pop or anything. I hope it’s a mild strain. I have to wait to see how it feels tomorrow. I’ve felt great the last couple of games.”
Los Angeles has taken control of the West by going 36-10 since the All-Star break. The Dodgers want to get the NL’s top rotation fully healthy for the playoffs.
Capuano has never lost at Great American Ball Park, going 3-0 in eight games. The groin strain prevented him from trying to add to the total.
The left-hander has been on the disabled list twice this season. He was sidelined from April 17 to May 6 with a strained left calf and from May 30 to June 19 with a strained left shoulder.
“We won’t know if he’ll make his next start or not,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We will know more tomorrow. Chris was throwing the ball good.”
Mike Leake (12-6) emerged from his recent slump, helping the Reds get their fourth win in their last five games. Leake allowed five hits, including Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homer, in 7 2-3 innings.
Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the fourth day in a row, fanned three in the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.
The third-place Reds kept their momentum going from a successful series against the St. Louis Cardinals that tightened the NL Central race. The Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are all in good position to reach the playoffs — one as the division champ, the other two as wild cards.
Votto has been having a tough time, watching his batting average fall to .300 after he led the NL at .361 on May 24. The Reds got a run in the fourth when Votto ended his 0-for-13 slump with a single off Stephen Fife, Jay Bruce singled and Ryan Ludwick grounded into a double play.
Votto hit a two-run homer — his 22nd — off J.P. Howell (2-1) in the fifth inning for a 3-2 lead.
“It was a sinker down and in,” Howell said. “He proved to me just how strong he is. He stayed inside the ball and kind of bench-pressed it. That’s hard to do. I knew it was trouble by the sound off the bat.
“I know he was in a slump, but I’d rather face a guy that’s 10 for 10 than someone that is due.”
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was in the lineup a day after he left a game because of a sore left thigh. He singled in the eighth off Paco Rodriguez and was replaced by Billy Hamilton, who stole second, leaving him 3 for 3 in attempts since his promotion. Rodriguez walked the bases loaded, but Brian Wilson got Ryan Ludwick to line into a double play as he escaped the threat.
Right fielder Yasiel Puig was back for the Dodgers after a sore right knee limited him to pinch-hitting status the last two games. He had an infield single.
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