The Cincinnati Reds avoided a five-game losing streak and the sweep at the hands of the Dodgers in Los Angeles when they were able to knock off Clayton Kershaw 3-2 on Wednesday.
Kershaw (3-2) was the second Cy Young Award winner the Reds (23-28) in as many games, but unlike Tuesday's 6-3 loss to Zack Greinke (8-1), Cincinnati was able to score early and hold on to that lead. Homer Bailey (5-3) held the Dodgers (29-25) to just two runs on five hits over seven innings of work.
The win also propelled the Reds back ahead of Pittsburgh (23-29) for third place, but still well behind St. Louis (29-24) and Milwaukee (32-22) in the NL Central. The Dodgers will look to help the Reds stay in third when they host the Pirates for a four game series.
Cincinnati made sure to score in the first inning against the two-time Cy Young winner when Todd Frazier doubled and then scored on a two-run homer by Brandon Phillips. Both teams had chances with a runner at third and one out, but Bailey worked out of his in the first by striking out Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez. Kershaw avoided trouble in the second when he fanned Zack Cozart and Bailey to strand Brayan Pena.
L.A. finally got to Bailey in the fifth when Justin Turner doubled, then moved to third on a ground ball. Devin Mesoraco misplayed a pitch from Bailey and it rolled to the back of the spacious area behind home plate to allow Turner to score. The Dodgers returned the favor in the sixth when Frazier doubled then eventually scored on a wild pitch by Kershaw. Puig would get the run right back when he homered off Bailey to start the bottom half of the sixth.
Kershaw stranded runners at second and third after a Billy Hamilton double in the seventh and Bailey was gone after retiring the side in order in his half of the seventh. Brandon League took over in the eighth for L.A. and retired the first two before J.P. Howell struck out Jay Bruce to end the inning.
The eighth was much more eventful for the Reds bullpen as Manny Parra walked the speedy Dee Gordon who moved to second on a sac bunt by Andre Ethier. Jonathan Broxton came on in relief of Parra and stranded Gordon by getting Puig and Ramirez to fly out and end the threat.
The eccentric Brian Wilson allowed just one hit in the ninth to set up a save opportunity for Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the inning. Chapman's fifth went without a hitch as he ended the contest with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Reds now head to Arizona (22-33) where they will face the Diamondbacks for a four-game set. Tony Cingrani (2-4, 4.06 ERA) will face Josh Collmenter (3-2, 3.91 ERA), but Reds fans may be more interested in Friday's match-up. That game will feature Mike Leake (2-4, 2.79 ERA) against his former mound mate, Bronson Arroyo (4-3, 4.15 ERA). The 14-year veteran spent eight years with Cincinnati where he won 105 games.