Home Sweet Home Isn't So for Dodgers

The Dodgers fell short once again in an attempt to win a home game. They scored twice in the ninth and had the tying run on base but lost 3-2 to Cincinnati. The closest they have come to a victory in this still young season is a 4-4 tied with Arizona on March 10.

Los Angeles book-ended the Reds with a pair of three-inning performances. Clayton Kershaw started and allowed only a pair of hits during in the first three innings and Carlos Monasterios added three more zeros from the seventh inning on, allowing just one hit.

Luis Ayala allowed a two-run home run in his single inning, the fourth, and took the loss. George Sherrill allowed a solo shot in the sixth for the third, and final Reds run. Between them Jonathan Broxton worked a scoreless fifth.

The Dodgers out-hit Cincinnati 8-7. Four of them were the infield variety. Ivan De Jesus led the L.A. offense with a pair of singles but the most important hits came in the ninth inning when rookies Mario Songo doubled in a run and scored when fellow rookie Christian Lara singled him across.

Los Angeles left nine on base and went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Strong Start
Kershaw had an easy first inning and retired the first two in the second. Then Jay Bruce rolled a single up he middle and stole second. Jonny Gomes then ripped a sharp single to left and Jason Repko made a perfect throw to the plate to nail Bruce by a good margin.

Bronson Arroyo worked a pair of scoreless innings, marred only by a rare infield hit by Brad Ausmus in the first.

In the third, having thrown only a pair pitches, something happened to Kershaw's pitching hand or perhaps a finger on his throwing hand. However, after the game he said his fingers were dry and he had a hard time getting the feel of the ball.

After facing only seven batters in the first two innings and throwing 28 pitches only he walked Ramon Hernandez and then Todd Frazier. A trip to the mound by interim manager Don Mattingly apparently turned up nothing.

The young left-hander then got Drew Stubbs looking at a third strike, popped up Orlando Cabrera and then caught Joey Votto looking at a slider on the inside corner for a third strike to end the 25-pitch inning. The three shutout inning drops his ERA to 1.80.

With one out, Ivan De Jesus dropped a single into left field in the bottom of the third for his first hit of the spring. Rafael Furcal smashed a ball through Scott Rolan at third for an error. However, Ausmus struck out and on the pitch De Jesus was caught stealing third to end the threat.

Luis Ayala made his third appearance of the spring. The 32-year-old who pitched for Minnesota and Florida last season has only averaged 2.12 walks per nine innings over his six-year major league career but it was a base on balls what done him in this time. He walked Brandon Phillips and with two out, Gomes hit a long drive that nearly carried over the berm and on to the walkway in left field for a two-run homer. He walked another before the inning ended.

The Dodgers put two more men on base in the bottom of the fourth, Andre Ethier on a walk and Doug Mientkiewicz on a single to right, but Francisco Cordero struck out the side to leave them stranded.

Jonathan Broxton took over in the fifth inning and issued the Dodgers fifth walk of the game. A run and hit single by Cabrera moved Stubbs to third base. Votto lined to De Jesus at second and Brandon Phillips bounced into a 3-6-3 double play.

Aroldis Chapman, who the Reds had payed a $30 million bonus to sign, came in armed with his 103-mph fastball in the bottom of the inning. In his first appearance of the season he allowed one hit and struck out three in two innings.

Repko fouled out to first and De Jesus beat out an infield hit up the middle. Furcal beat out the second infield hit of the inning and Argenis Reyes ran for him but was quickly picked off first base on a throw from the catcher. Ausmus went 3-2, then lined to first.

George Sherrill took over in the sixth. Jay Gibbons made a good running catch near the left field foul line but with two out Chris Heisey popped a home run that just cleared the left-center wall and the Reds took a 3-0 lead.

Chapman, working a second inning for the first time this season, popped Ethier up, brushed back Matt Kemp and then struck him out. Casey Blake took a third strike to end the inning. In the two innings Chapman worked, only De Jesus was not late with his swing, bouncing a ground ball up the middle that couldn't be handled for an infield hit.

Carlos Monasterios, who was a Rule V selection by the Mets, who promptly sold him to the Dodgers, worked the final three innings and made it look easy.

He had with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. In the eighth inning he allowed the first batter to reach base when he fielded a ground ball down the third base line and threw it into the stands behind first. He closed out the inning with a pair of flies to left and a strikeout. In the ninth he worked around a one-out single to finish his three inning stint having struck out two, allowed no runs on two hit. He hasn't allowed a run in his five innings this spring.

The Dodgers youth movement struck in the ninth inning when rookie Steve Caseres ( drew a one out walk, 20-year-old Angelo Songo, who hit .306 for Ogden last season, doubled him across and then after Jay Gibbons lined sharply to right, scored himself on a single by Christian Lara (Inland Empire). Argenis Reyes bounced harmlessly to the pitcher to end the game.

Saturday's Probable --Starting against Arizona in Tucson will be RHP Chad Billingsley, followed by LHP Scott Elbert, RHP Eric Gagné, RHP Justin Miller and LHP Brent Leach.

 Score by innings
Cincinnati	000 201 000-3
Los Angeles	000 000 002-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  0  1  0  .188
 Reyes pr-ss	2  0  0  0  .000
Ausmus c	3  0  1  0  .200
 Knoedler c	1  0  1  0  1.000
Ethier rf	2  0  0  0  .235
 Van Slyke rf	1  0  0  0  .000
Kemp cf	        3  0  0  0  .278
 Perez cf	1  0  0  0  .000
Blake 3b	3  0  0  0  .400
 Baez 3b	1  0  0  0  .000
Mientkiewicz 1b	2  0  1  0  .444
 Caseres 1b	1  1  0  0  .000
Ellis DH	3  0  1  0  .200
 Songco pr-dh	1  1  1  1  1.000
Repko lf	2  0  0  0  .000
 Gibbons	2  0  0  0  .000
De Jesus 2b	2  0  2  0  .667      
 Lara 2b	2  0  1  1  .500 
----------------------------------------
 Totals	        34 2 8 2	
 Reds	        33 3 7 3

 Error- Monasterios (1). Two-base hit- Songco
(1). RBI- Songco (1), Lara (1). LOB- Los
Angeles 8, Cincinnati 9. RISP- Los Angeles
1-for-5, Cincinnati 1-for-10. CS- De Jesus
(1). PO- Reyes. DP- Mientkiewicz, Furcal
and Mientkiewicz.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kershaw	        3.0  2  0-0  2  3  1.80
Ayala (0-1)	1.0  1  2-2  2  2  6.00
Broxton	        1.0  0  0-0  1  0  4.50
Sherrill	1.0  2  1-1  0  0   5.40
Monasterios	3.0  1  0-0  1  1  0.00
 T- 2:55. Att- 7,213.
Belisario Still MIA
Ronald Belisario, who led the Dodgers NL leading bullpen last season with a 2.04 earned run average over 69 games still has not reported to camp. The right-hander has been unable to secure a visa

Belisario has been unable to secure a visa for the 2010 season and remains in his native Venezuela. His agent said that he didn't have an update on his client's status. Belisario had a similar issue last year and missed two weeks of camp.

The Dodgers are frustrated and angry. "You would think that the opportunity to make a living throwing a baseball, to pitch in the big leagues and support your family and build a career, you would pursue it to the fullest," general manager Ned Colletti said. "Whether he has or he hasn't, I don't know."

Dodger Blue Notes LHP Clayton Kershaw made his first Spring Training start after having his first start rained out on Sunday and allowing one run with a strikeout in 2.0 innings of relief on Monday. Kershaw ranked fifth in the National League with a 2.79 ERA and first in the league with a 1.83 ERA at home. The 21-year-old joins Ralph Branca (1947), Don Drysdale (1956), Fernando Valenzuela (1981, '82) and Don Sutton (1966) as the only pitchers in Dodger franchise history since 1901 to appear in the Top-10 in ERA when they were 21 years old or younger.  The left-handed Texan led the Major Leagues by limiting hitters to a .200 average and a .282 slugging percentage. Kershaw was followed to the hill by RHP Carlos Monasterios, RHP Jonathan Broxton, LHP George Sherrill and RHP Luis Ayala. The Reds will counter with righty Bronson Arroyo and will also send to the mound Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who has become the talk of Cincinnati's camp by reaching triple digits on the radar gun. Monasterios will take the mound for the second time this spring after tossing 2.0 scoreless innings on Monday against the Giants. The native Venezuelan spent the 2009 season in the Phillies' organization, going a combined 5-6 with a 3.73 ERA (37 ER/89.1 IP) in 37 games (eight starts) for Single-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Fellow Venezuelan and Rule 5 selection LHP Armando Zerpa fired a scoreless inning of relief yesterday against the Royals in his Dodger debut after pitching for Single-A Salem and Single-A Greenville in the Red Sox organization last year.  Since 1981, the Dodgers have selected 11 players in the Rule 5 draft and only three players have made the Opening Day roster, including D.J. Houlton, who remained with the club for the entire 2005 season.  Both Frank Lankford (1998) and Jose Antonio Nuñez (2001) were offered back to their original clubs before the All-Star break. ...Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-lung Hu had an event-filled day in their home country, making multiple sponsor appearances before running a clinic with Dodger coaches for 100 Little Leaguers at Taipei Municipal Tienmu Stadium. Dodger players Manny Ramirez, James Loney, Kenley Jansen and Prentice Redman were been mobbed by autograph seekers in Taiwan while visiting the Taipei 101 Tower, the world's second-highest occupied building. Xavier Paul, Brian Barton, Trayvon Robinson and John Lindsey were surrounded by fans at a memorial to the late president Chiang Kai-shek, prompting Paul to tell MLB.com, "I feel like the Jonas Brothers – no make that the Jackson Five." ...With half the squad in Taiwan, the front office, coaches and fans are getting a good look at several young minor leaguers in the Dodger system. The Dodgers suited up 2009 fourth-round selection Angelo Songco; Pedro Baez, who was selected to the 2009 All-Star Futures game and California League Postseason All-Star Scott Van Slyke, who led all Dodger minor leaguers with 42 doubles in 2009 and is the son of former MLB outfielder Andy Van Slyke. Appearing against Kansas City were Dodgers' Minor League Player of the Year Dee Gordon, 2009 Midwest League co-MVP Kyle Russell, 2009 Pioneer League MVP Brian Cavazos-Galvez and Double-A Southern League All-Star Andrew Lambo.     

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