When the Dodgers and Reds have met in recent seasons, runs have often come at a premium.
Even with Monday's series-opening 6-2 win for the Dodgers, the two teams have now played one-run contests in six of their last eight meetings with each team taking four games.
There is no reason to think that trend might change when the teams play the second of four games Tuesday night in Cincinnati as the Dodgers send Josh Beckett (2.57 ERA) to the mound opposed by Mike Leake (3.29 ERA).
"Both teams know they're going to face good pitching in this series and have to take advantage of every scoring opportunity that you have," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Sometimes it means you try to create a little bit more with hit and run and sacrifice bunt. Other times, you hope that one of your sluggers hits a three-run home run and makes that the difference."
Since 2012, the Dodgers and Reds have averaged 5.82 combined runs per game (99 runs in 17 games).
It won't get easier for either team Tuesday night. Beckett will be making his third start following his May 25 no-hitter against the Phillies, but hasn't slowed down. The 34-year-old veteran has allowed two runs in each of his last two starts, lasting five and six innings. Both times, though, the Dodgers lost 2-1. This will be his first road start since the no-hitter in Philadelphia.
"We're just not getting it done," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Beckett's last outing. "Simple as that, right? Just not getting it done. We need to win, pretty much. We need to win."
With Monday's victory, the Dodgers (34-31) have now won three of the first four games on their seven-game road trip. The team's talent hasn't been lost on Price.
"We know they're a very talented club from what they did last year and the lineup and roster they have this year," Price said.
While Beckett has garnered headlines this season, Leake has been no slouch for the Reds. He has quality starts in eight of 13 outings this season, including all six May starts before allowing five runs in his first June start last time out.
Dodgers: Puig, Gordon return to action
Yasiel Puig returned to the Dodgers lineup Monday after sitting out Sunday's series finale in Colorado with a left hip pointer strain.
Puig sustained the injury while sliding into second base attempting to break up a double play on Saturday. The young outfielder has been an important cog in the Los Angles lineup, hitting .333 this season with 11 homers and 40 RBIs.
Meanwhile, second baseman Dee Gordon, who also left Saturday's game with a hip injury, wasn't in the team's lineup Monday, but singled as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. He should return to the starting lineup Tuesday.
"Dee was good. I think he was ready to play," Mattingly said before the game. "You just kind of figure with him getting another day, in this circumstance against a lefty, really just making sure he gets another day, making sure he's healthy."
Reds: Mesoraco gets night off during slump
A career-worst hitting slump was reason enough to give catcher Devin Mesoraco a night of rest on Monday against the Dodgers.
Mesoraco had gone 1-for-18 in the first six games of the homestand, including a current career-high 0-for-17 skid. The catcher is expected to be back in the Reds' lineup on Tuesday.
"We've been running him hard," Price said. "He's basically been four out of every five and [Brayan] Pena has been catching [Johnny] Cueto exclusively."
• Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is 5-for-12 (.417) with two homers and five RBIs against Leake.
• The Dodgers bullpen has allowed only two runs in 19 1/3 innings this month after tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings Monday.
• Beckett is 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA in three career starts against the Reds, though his last one was good: On June 15, 2008, with the Red Sox, Beckett tossed seven shutout innings to get the win (six hits, six strikeouts and two walks).
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.