CINCINNATI, Ohio — Andre Ethier hit his first home run since breaking his finger and Clayton Kershaw outpitched rookie Mike Leake, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over the slumping Cincinnati Reds 6-2 Wednesday night.
Kershaw (7-3) won a matchup of promising, 22-year-old starters, giving up one run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings.
Ethier’s homer off Leake (5-1) helped send him to his first loss in the majors.
Reds third baseman Scott Rolen and manager Dusty Baker were ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt for arguing a called third strike in the sixth inning.
Manny Ramirez added a solo homer in the ninth, his second in two days. He also threw out catcher Ramon Hernandez at the plate as he tried to score from second base on a single in the fifth inning.
The Dodgers are 25-6 against the Reds since 2006, a team they’ve beaten like no other. They’ve won the first two games of the series by a combined 18-1, shutting down the NL’s most prolific offence.
Frustration got to the Reds in the sixth inning.
With runners on first and third, Rolen took a pitch that appeared to be several inches low. Wendelstedt called it strike three, and Rolen went face-to-face, drawing a quick ejection. Baker pushed his player away and took up his cause, waving his cap in his right hand while also getting pitched.
It was the first ejection for both this season.
Though in first plate in the NL Central for the last 10 days, the Reds had struggled. They fell to 3-6 on a homestand that concludes Thursday.
The Dodgers have been waiting for Ethier to regain his stroke. He homered on May 12 and was batting an NL-leading .392 when he broke his right pinkie finger during batting practice three days later. He was batting only .218 since returning on May 31.
James Loney added a two-run double off Leake, who has struggled in both of his starts against the Dodgers. He gave up nine hits and five runs in six innings, leaving with a 5-0 deficit. He also gave up five runs — his career high — in an 8-5 win over LA on April 22.
Leake was the eighth overall pick last June, and went directly to the majors. Kershaw was the seventh overall pick in 2006, and has quickly established himself as one of the Dodgers’ best. He’s 6-1 in his last eight starts with a 1.82 ERA.
NOTES: The Dodgers are playing with an extra reliever for the next few days. Starter Chad Billingsley went on the 15-day DL with a groin injury. Reliever Travis Schlichting was called up. He’ll likely go back to the minors on Saturday when starter Vicente Padilla comes off the DL. ... Reds RH Edinson Volquez will make his second rehab start at Class A on Thursday. Volquez had elbow reconstruction last August. He has completed a 50-game suspension for using a banned fertility substance. ... Chris Heisey got his third pinch-hit homer in the ninth.