3 up, 3 down: Dodgers 4, Reds 1

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers can finally see the light at the end of the dark tunnel they have been meandering through for the past two weeks. Their 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds wasn’t pretty, but style points mean little at this point for the Dodgers, who find themselves back atop the NL West.

After winning only one game out of 12 and getting shut out in six of those games, the Dodgers have now won back-to-back games for the first time since June 10, and things could start looking up for L.A. soon after the All-Star break once they get all their injured players back.

“When we come out after those four days off, we think like we’re going to be back,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re going to get Matt [Kemp] back, we’re going to get Andre [Ethier] back … so we’ll really be back to our club.”

The Good:

Run game. While everyone at Dodger Stadium was on their phones as they made their way to their seats, trying to confirm the news of Steve Nash coming to the Lakers, the Dodgers went out and scored three runs in the first inning. That’s right, the same team that couldn’t score three runs, let alone one, in six games, became a bit of a juggernaut early in the game.

Harang’s night. Aaron Harang had a solid outing Wednesday night after giving up five runs (four earned) in his last start against the New York Mets on Friday. He pitched seven innings, giving up one run and three hits with five strikeouts.

Cruising Cruz. When the 28-year-old Luis Cruz walked into Dodger Stadium and returned to the big leagues for the first time since 2010, there weren’t great expectations for him. Then again, there weren’t great expectations for the team given its recent struggles. Cruz, however, has shined in his short time with the team. His RBI double in the seventh inning off Johnny Cueto helped lead the Dodgers to their win Tuesday, and on Wednesday night he was 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI.

The Bad:

Um, nice start but… Perhaps we’re expecting too much here, but after scoring three runs in the first inning, many had hoped the Dodgers had turned a corner in the offensive department. That was not to be as they scored only one more run on a sac fly in the eighth inning. Thankfully for the Dodgers, as has been the case for much of this season, their pitching didn’t require any more insurance.

Van Slyke struggles. Scott Van Slyke’s night at the plate embodied the Dodgers’ struggles the past two weeks. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, a groundout and a pop out. There will be better nights ahead for the second-generation player than the one he had Wednesday.

Injury bug. On a night when Ethier was sent to the disabled list, Dee Gordon was taken out of the game after dislocating his right thumb. The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately known, but Gordon will have an MRI exam Thursday. Gordon was replaced in the lineup by Mark Ellis, who just returned from being out for about seven weeks because of a leg injury. Injuries are part of the game, but they seem to be a daily, integral part of the game for the Dodgers this season.