Published September 24, 2012
| Sports Network
Cincinnati, OH – Adrian Gonzalez homered twice to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Cincinnati Reds, 5-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
Mark Ellis, Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis added an RBI apiece for the Dodgers, who moved within three games of the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL's second wild card spot.
Clayton Kershaw made his first start since Sept. 11 because of a hip injury and allowed a run on five hits and a season-high five walks over five innings. Shawn Tolleson (3-1) received the win with a perfect inning of relief and Brandon League recorded his 14th save of the season by tossing a scoreless ninth.
"He was just rusty more than anything else," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Kershaw's start. "He's Clayton. He's going to keep fighting and battling."
Homer Bailey (12-10) surrendered all five runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings for Cincinnati, which locked up the NL Central with Saturday's extra-inning victory.
"I thought he was solid," Reds acting manager Chris Speier said. "I thought he threw really, really well."
After the Reds left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, Los Angeles was able to go on top in the second with Gonzalez's solo shot over the right-center field wall.
Cincinnati left a man on second in the home second before tying the game in third when Wilson Valdez led off the frame with a walk, advanced to second on a Joey Votto free pass and came home on Todd Frazier's single to center field.
Votto would later move to third on Miguel Cairo's double-play groundout, but Denis Phipps struck out to end the inning and keep it a 1-1 contest.
The Reds again failed to push across a run with the bases loaded in the fourth inning before the Dodgers regained the lead in the seventh with Gonzalez's second leadoff blast of the game.
Los Angeles then added to its lead as Hanley Ramirez followed with a single, and pinch-runner Dee Gordon advanced to third on a Luis Cruz base hit before racing home on A.J. Ellis' sacrifice bunt.
Ramirez was forced to leave the game after his single because of an injury suffered while fouling a ball off his foot during his at-bat.
Bailey was replaced by Jose Arredondo following a walk to pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu, and the new pitcher surrendered an RBI double to Mark Ellis and a run- scoring single to Ethier, which gave LA a 5-1 lead.
Phipps' two-run homer off Ronald Belisario in the eighth inning brought the Reds within 5-3, but League worked around a two-out walk by Votto in the ninth to close out the game.
Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan left the game prior to the start of the eighth inning with an injured shoulder ... It was Gonzalez's 14th multi-homer game of his career ... Phipps recorded his first career home run ... Bailey had been 2-0 over his last four starts. He fell to 3-2 in six career appearances against the Dodgers ... It was Los Angeles' first series win since taking two of three from Miami from Aug 24-26.