LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers had a new left fielder in the lineup Wednesday night — Matt Kemp. The frustrated veteran wasn't in the starting lineup the previous five games, but got a chance to get back in there because of Carl Crawford's sprained left ankle.
Kemp, who hadn't started a game in left field since his rookie year, was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts on the eighth anniversary of his major league debut. The two-time Gold Glove winner didn't get a chance to make a putout during the Dodgers' 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but he did chase down a pair of doubles by Todd Frazier — one of which sailed over his head — and had a great look at Brandon Phillips' two-run homer off Clayton Kershaw.
Perhaps the most frustrated hitter in the Dodgers' lineup was Andre Ethier, who was 0 for 3 against Reds starter Homer Bailey, and is hitless in 21 career at-bats against him with seven strikeouts.
"He was just moving the ball so well," Ethier said. "He's one of those guys who can be wildly effective at times, and other times he can spot up a pitch and throw something in there at 93-94 — then reach back for 96-97 — and it's moving all over the place. He can throw his other pitches for strikes, too, so it's a tough combination. In the past, I've seen a lot of cutters from him, and tonight I didn't see one. It was all two-seam fastballs and one breaking ball."
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 Frazier's first double. It certainly got Kershaw's attention, because he retired 14 of his next 16 batters.
Only one of the last 34 home runs the two-time Cy Young Award winner has given up has been with more than one man on base.
"Regardless of who was pitching, it feels good just to come through for the team and do something positive to get us going in the right direction," Phillips said. "We haven't been really scoring that many runs and haven't been getting many clutch hits. Kershaw's one of the best pitchers in the game, but tonight we just hit some mistakes."