3/22/2013 7:20 P.M. ET
Leake struggles, but offense rallies late to top Dodgers
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Cruz, the Dodgers' likely replacement for the injured Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, slugged a pair of home runs off Mike Leake and drove in four, but it wasn't enough as the Reds scored three runs in the ninth to win on Friday, 6-5.
Cruz played this game at third base, with Dee Gordon starting at short. They are the two shortstop candidates manager Don Mattingly has mentioned for the two months Ramirez will miss after tearing a right thumb ligament in the World Baseball Classic.
Cruz's home runs were in support of Clayton Kershaw, who allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. Kershaw hit the first batter he faced and walked the next, leading to a two-run first inning for Cincinnati on RBI singles by Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier.
Leake, named the Reds' fifth starter earlier in the day, went five innings. He was relieved by closer Aroldis Chapman, who pitched a scoreless inning.
"I felt really good, just two bad pitches," Leake said following his outing. "I mixed well and kind of enjoyed it."
In the top of the ninth, the Reds were able to get the best of reliever Josh Wall, who was charged with three earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning. Jack Hannahan tied the game on a one-out, two-run single. Xavier Paul gave the Reds the lead with a sacrifice fly to score Emmanuel Burriss.
Dodgers Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig electrified the crowd in the fourth inning with a double and advanced to third on a fielding error by Ludwick.
But Puig had to leave the game in the top of the fifth inning when he tried to make a diving catch of a wind-blown fly by Brandon Phillips and had the wind knocked out of him when he landed hard on the ground. He said he was uninjured and expects to play Saturday night.
Up next: Shin-Soo Choo has been out for a week because of back spasms, but has felt good for a few days. If he still feels fine after Friday's full workout, Choo will likely be back in the Reds' lineup vs. the Rangers on Saturday. The two teams meet at 4:05 p.m. ET at Goodyear Ballpark. Mat Latos will make the start and be followed by Manny Parra and Jonathan Broxton.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.