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04/20/10 11:50 PM ET

Opener may portend battle of bullpens

The Reds went out of their way Tuesday night to live up to their early-season reputation as a cardiac club. Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker would like a slightly calmer Wednesday.

The Reds had to blow a sixth-inning, 9-3 lead to the Dodgers in order to set up their sixth last at-bat victory of the season -- that's right, each of their wins. Cincinnati snapped its five-game losing streak on the strength of two eighth-inning runs.

The Dodgers didn't plan on being so accommodating, and might take steps to shore up their late-game relief before they step back into Great American Ball Park.

The tattered Dodgers bullpen should be getting some old-new blood as early as Wednesday's game. Righty reliever Ronald Belisario, whose Spring Training and season was delayed by visa problems in his native Venezuela, is expected to be activated prior to the second game of the series. Coincidentally or not, Belisario was Joe Torre's primary eighth-inning guy last season.

Baker's best hope for a less eventful second game of the series is Aaron Harang, who is certainly due for a win.

Remarkably, Harang has only one victory in his past 19 starts, reverting to last May. Next to that extended drought pales the fact the Reds' Opening Day pitcher has gone winless in his first three starts for the first time in his nine-year career.

"We'd like to get him on the board, on a winning streak, before he starts counting," Baker said. "We'd like to get him a win. Not only him, we need a win. We need wins."

Hiroki Kuroda will be making only his second career start against the Reds, against whom he pitched lights-out two years ago for his second Major League win. In that May 21, 2008, meeting at Dodger Stadium, Kuroda held Cincy to two runs on five hits for eight innings.

Mannywood returns after brief hiatus
Manny Ramirez returned to the lineup after sitting out two starts with tightness in his right calf; he had a double in two at-bats, and also drew three walks. ... Jon Link, a 26-year-old right-hander acquired from the White Sox in December's trade of Juan Pierre, made his Major League debut Tuesday night, tossing two hitless innings. After the game, however, he was optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Belisario on the roster.

Reds make most of bountiful production
Losing Tuesday night's game after scoring nine early runs could have been devastating for the Reds, who in the course of the five-game losing streak had scored a total of 15 runs. ... Third baseman Scott Rolen returned to the lineup with three hits after missing three games with a sore back.

Worth noting
Dodgers batting coach Don Mattingly celebrated his 49th birthday Tuesday. ... The Reds' victory was only their fifth over the Dodgers in their 27 meetings since the beginning of the 2006 season.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.