Kershaw thrives with improved control

Kershaw thrives with improved control

REDS 3, DODGERS 2
at Phoenix
Friday, March 12

Reds at the plate: Jonny Gomes' two-run homer in the fourth (off Luis Ayala), his second of the spring, and a solo shot by Chris Heisey in the sixth (off George Sherrill) accounted for the scoring.

Dodgers at the plate: Ivan DeJesus, who went 2-for-2, and Rafael Furcal had the satisfaction of getting hits off Aroldis Chapman, although neither left the infield. Angelo Songco added an RBI in the ninth.

Reds on the mound: For his encore, Chapman blanked the Dodgers for two innings, allowing only a pair of infield singles in the fifth and fanning two in the sixth; he made 35 pitches, 20 of them for strikes. Bronson Arroyo remained nearly perfect in shutting out the Dodgers through three; in five innings this spring, he has allowed two singles, one of them infield.

Dodgers on the mound: Clayton Kershaw credited improving control with his breaking pitches (curve and slider) after firing three shutout innings in his second spring start.

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Worth noting: Jason Repko, playing in left field for the Dodgers, triggered a game of several sharp defensive plays with a fantastic throw in the first inning. With Jay Bruce running from second with a typical two-out jump, Repko charged Gomes' single and unleashed a clothes-line on the fly to catcher Brad Ausmus to nail the runner at the plate.

Cactus League records: Reds 4-3; Dodgers 2-4-1

Up next: The Reds rotation's fourth starter, Homer Bailey, will technically be making his spring debut when he faces the Cubs in Mesa on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. CT. Bailey pitched in a "B" game on Monday vs. the Brewers and was sensational with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. The game will also mark another opportunity for fifth-starter candidate Micah Owings, who is scheduled to work out of the bullpen.

The Dodgers make their first of two treks to Tucson, Ariz., for their final spring look at the division-rival D-backs (they'll bus back on March 30 to play the Rockies), with Chad Billingsley scheduled to make the start, his second. The teams played to a 4-4 tie on Wednesday.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.