He wasn’t exactly the dominating Clayton Kershaw seen in his last outing, and he certainly wasn’t the one who couldn’t last two innings in the start before that.
This Kershaw was very good but, as it turned out, just not good enough.
Kershaw struck out nine in his seven innings but a wild pitch in the sixth allowed what held up as the winning run in the Reds' 3-2 victory Wednesday night before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 41,129.
Kershaw (3-2) allowed seven hits and walked one, but he wasn’t quite as sharp as Reds’ starter Homer Bailey, who held the Dodgers to just five hits in seven innings, with a walk and six strikeouts.
The Reds opened the scoring with two quick runs in the first. Todd Frazier doubled into the left-field corner, and Brandon Phillips unloaded his fourth home run of the season several rows into the left-field pavilion, giving Cincinnati an early 2-0 lead.
It remained that way until the fifth, the Dodgers struggling get much of anything going against Bailey, the owner of two no-hitters but who entered the game 4-3 with a 5.34 ERA.
Then Justin Turner led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and moved to third on Drew Butera’s groundout to first. Turner scored when catcher Devin Mesoraco let a Bailey fastball get by him for a passed ball.
The Reds got the run back in the sixth after Frazier doubled into left for a second time. Matt Kemp, playing left field for the first time since 2006, could not get a good line on the ball and it sailed beyond his glove. Frazier went to third and scored on the Kershaw wild pitch.
The Dodgers pulled back to within one in the bottom of the inning. After Bailey went high and inside with a fastball to Yasiel Puig, he came back with a hanging slider that Puig drilled for his 11th home run. Puig has now reached base in 29 consecutive games.
Jamie Romak, making his major-league debut after playing 1,069 games in the minors, bounced out to first on the first pitch he saw pinch hitting for Kershaw in the seventh.
The Dodgers got Dee Gordon to second with the tying run with one out in the eighth, but ex-Dodger Jonathan Broxton came in to get Puig and Hanley Ramirez to fly out to right.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save and enable the Reds to avoid a three-game series sweep.
Kemp went hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts in his first start in six games.