CINCINNATI (AP) — Johnny Cueto was striking out batters. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce were driving in runs. For one night, the Cincinnati Reds felt like themselves.
It hasn't happened that often this season.
Cueto matched his career high with 12 strikeouts in six innings, and Votto and Bruce — the missing core of Cincinnati's batting order much of the season — each drove in runs Wednesday night, leading the Reds to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cueto (6-5) followed his shortest start of the season with one of his most dominating. He gave up three singles and didn't walk a batter, leaving after his 112th pitch. Cueto lasted only five innings during an 8-0 loss to Philadelphia on Friday.
The Dodgers fouled off a lot of pitches, quickly elevating Cueto's pitch count. He lobbied for one more inning but manager Bryan Price decided he'd had enough.
"That's the way it was," Cueto said, with trainer Tomas Vera translating. "I wasn't trying to strike everybody out, but they made me throw a lot of pitches."
Jonathan Broxton escaped a bases-loaded, one-out threat in the seventh by getting Hanley Ramirez to ground into a double play.
"All we're trying to do down there is get the outs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and let (closer Aroldis Chapman) have the spotlight," Broxton said. "That's been working most of the year."
Votto doubled home a pair of runs off Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3), who had won his last four starts. Votto hadn't driven in a run since May 10, missing 23 games in between because of a strained muscle above his left knee.
Bruce missed two weeks following knee surgery. He hit a solo homer off Ryu, who gave up four runs in six innings.
The Reds are hoping that with Votto and Bruce back in the lineup, they can get a lot more out of an offense that ranks second to last in the majors in runs scored.
"We have a history here," Price said. "We have a real good understanding that we have players who have accomplished things at a high level here. You saw some of that tonight. Hopefully, it'll be a precursor to good things."