LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer against Clayton Kershaw and Homer Bailey pitched seven effective innings, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Bailey (5-3) allowed two runs and five hits while striking out six.
Yasiel Puig, who has reached base safely in 29 straight games, led off the Dodgers’ sixth with an opposite-field homer to right-center that narrowed the gap to 3-2. But former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton retired Puig and Hanley Ramirez on flyballs for the last two outs in the eighth after replacing Manny Parra with a runner at second, and Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
Kershaw (3-2) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out nine.
The left-hander, who led the majors in ERA in each of the previous three seasons, has a 3.57 mark through his first six starts this year. He missed all of April because of a strained muscle in his back, after beating Arizona March 22 during the Dodgers’ season-opening two-game trip to Australia.
Cincinnati opened the scoring in the first with Phillips’ fourth homer after Todd Frazier hit the first of his two doubles. It certainly got Kershaw’s attention, because he retired 14 of his next 16 batters.
Only one of the last 34 home runs Kershaw has given up has been with more than one man on base. That was a three-run shot by former Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo, who eventually joined the Dodgers in January as a free agent – and was released last week after biting off a piece of Triple-A Albuquerque teammate Alex Guerrero’s left ear during a dugout brawl.
Phillips, a four-time Gold Glove second baseman, robbed Andre Ethier of an RBI single in the first when he made a diving stop of his grounder in the hole and threw him out after a leadoff double by Dee Gordon. Bailey escaped the inning unscathed by striking out Puig and Ramirez.
The Dodgers didn’t get another hit until Justin Turner’s leadoff double in the fifth. He advanced on Drew Butera’s grounder to first base and scored when Bailey tried to pitch Kershaw down and in and the ball got through Devin Mesoraco for a passed ball. The run was earned because Kershaw and Gordon followed with singles.
Frazier doubled over Matt Kemp’s head leading off the sixth and scored on a wild pitch to give Cincinnati a 3-1 lead.
NOTES: Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully was back in the Dodgers’ TV booth after missing two games because of a chest cold. … Ethier was 0 for 3 against Bailey, and is hitless in 21 career at-bats against him with seven strikeouts. … Canadian-born OF Jamie Romak, promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque because of Crawford’s injury, pinch-hit for Kershaw in the seventh and grounded out to second on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues. … Dodgers RHP Brandon League retired both batters he faced. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in a career-best 22 innings spanning his last 16 appearances. … Puig’s numbers through his first 152 major league games are comparable to what Mike Trout did through his first 152 with the Angels. Trout batted .308 with 30 homers, 90 RBIs and 138 strikeouts. Puig is batting .327 with 30 homers, 81 RBIs and 138 strikeouts. … Neither Gordon nor Billy Hamilton had a stolen base in this three-game series. They are 1-2 in the majors with 30 and 18, respectively.