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Cruz drills two homers, but bullpen falters vs. Reds

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Cruz, the Dodgers' likely replacement for the injured Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, slugged a pair of home runs off Mike Leake and drove in four, but it wasn't enough as the Reds scored three runs in the ninth to win on Friday, 6-5.

Cruz played this game at third base, with Dee Gordon starting at short. They are the two shortstop candidates manager Don Mattingly has mentioned for the two months Ramirez will miss after tearing a right thumb ligament in the World Baseball Classic.

Cruz's home runs were in support of Clayton Kershaw, who allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. Kershaw hit the first batter he faced and walked the next, leading to a two-run first inning for Cincinnati on RBI singles by Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier.

Leake, named the Reds' fifth starter earlier in the day, went five innings. He was relieved by closer Aroldis Chapman, who pitched a scoreless inning.

In the top of the ninth, the Reds were able to get the best of reliever Josh Wall, who was charged with three earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning. Jack Hannahan tied the game on a one-out, two-run single. Xavier Paul gave the Reds the lead with a sacrifice fly to score Emmanuel Burriss.

Dodgers Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig electrified the crowd in the fourth inning with a double and advanced to third on a fielding error by Ludwick.

But Puig had to leave the game in the top of the fifth inning when he tried to make a diving catch of a wind-blown fly by Brandon Phillips and had the wind knocked out of him when he landed hard on the ground. He said he was uninjured and expects to play Saturday night.

Up next: Carl Crawford's recovery from Tommy John surgery takes a big step as he is expected to make his defensive debut for the Dodgers Saturday night. Hyun-Jin Ryu continues his bid for a spot in the starting rotation when he takes the ball against the White Sox and Jake Peavy in a 7:05 p.m. PT game at Camelback Ranch. In a Minor League day game, Chad Billingsley will make his first start since suffering a bruised right index finger bunting in batting practice. Billingsley will not throw curveballs.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
Read More: Los Angeles Dodgers, Luis Cruz, Clayton Kershaw