Progress, you take it where you find it. In giant torrents of improvement, or nice steady trickles.
Those four new pitchers the Dodgers acquired at the July 31 trade deadline had gotten off to an auspicious start. Two starters and two relievers equaled four struggling pitchers.
Friday did not offer some dramatic turnaround, but the Dodgers will happily take their 5-3 victory over the Reds on another muggy night at Dodger Stadium and call it progress.
Left-handed starter Alex Wood went 6 1/3 good-enough innings, limiting the Reds to three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three. If he wasn't exactly dominating, neither was he getting rocked as he had in his first two starts for the Dodgers (seven runs in 11 1/3 innings).
Jim Johnson, who had been simply miserable in his first four appearances (29.45 ERA), turned in his second good outing. He took over for Wood in the seventh inning and retired both of the batters he faced.
That maligned Dodgers' bullpen turned in 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, and for a day a trickle turned into a river for Johnson, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen. Wood earned the victory to raise his record to 8-7.
Someone who has been consistent almost the entire year, Adrian Gonzalez, delivered the big offensive blow. Gonzalez followed two-out singles by Jimmy Rollins, Enrique Hernandez and Justin Turner in the fifth inning with a three-run homer.
It was the 23rd home run of the season for Gonzalez, giving him the team lead by one over Joc Pederson.
The Dodgers scored all five of their runs against rookie left-hander John Lamb, who was making his first appearance in the majors after seven years in the minors. Lamb's family, however, is no stranger to Dodger Stadium, or any other major Los Angeles sports facility.
Lamb's grandfather was John Ramsey, the longtime public address announcer for the Dodgers, Rams, Raiders, Lakers, Angels and USC.
The Reds tried to ease Lamb's way by scoring a run in the first on a Joey Votto double, but the Dodgers got it right back when Rollins led off with a double, went to second on an Enrique Hernandez single and scored on Turner's sacrifice fly.
The score remained tied, 1-1, until the Dodgers scored their four runs in the fifth inning. Turner's single scored one run before Gonzalez hit his three-run homer.
The Reds got two back in the sixth inning on a two-run homer from Votto, but would never threaten again. The Dodgers retired the last 12 consecutive Reds.