Chris Taylor got the Los Angeles Dodgers going early and they hung on for a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark in their final spring meeting. It marked just the second time this spring the Dodgers played a game that went nine innings.
Taylor was among the Dodgers upset with home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo’s low strike zone as Vladimir Gutierrez struck out the side in the first inning. Gutierrez issued a walk and hit Will Smith in the second inning, but got through another scoreless frame.
The Dodgers then found success against Braden Shipley in the third, beginning with Taylor’s two-run homer to right-center field. Max Muncy’s walk was followed by a double from Justin Turner, and Smith’s RBI single extended the lead.
Gavin Lux added to that and his personally scorching spring with an RBI base hit before the Reds elected to roll the inning after AJ Pollock hit into a force out.
After Jimmy Nelson went two perfect innings on just 20 pitches, Corey Knebel erased a double in the third by catching a line-drive comebacker and firing to second base for a double play. Scott Alexander kept the shutout intact with a 1-2-3 fourth, but Josiah Gray surrendered a solo home run in the fifth inning.
Gray remained in the game for the sixth and worked around a walk to keep the Dodgers’ lead at 4-1. The churn of prospects continued as Ryan Pepiot took over in the seventh inning. He encountered some trouble against former Dodgers Rocky Gale and Dee Strange-Gordon as they hit a ground-rule double and two-run single, respectively.
Cincinnati nearly tied the game as Miguel Vargas dropped the ball at first base on a would-be double play and it appeared the tying run scored. However, the Reds were called for interference at second base and the Dodgers preserved their lead.
It wound up being somewhat of a moot point as Michael Busch led off the ninth with a home run.
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