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Leake wins final spot in Reds' rotation with 6-5 win over L.A.
Saturday, March 23, 2013 4:59 AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Mike Leake allowed four runs on five hits in five innings for Cincinnati and wrapped up the final spot in the Reds' projected 2013 starting rotation on Friday in a 605 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Leake struck out two and walked three but got the nod as a starter when manager Dusty Baker announced Friday that Aroldis Chapman was returning to the closer role he excelled in in 2012.
"I felt really good," Leake said. "There were just two bad pitches. It's been a good spring. I wanted to challenge myself to be the pitcher I had been. I don't feel like I necessarily deserved to be in the rotation. But I fought for it. I wasn't going to be lax and make it an easy decision for them."
Cincinnati scored three times in the ninth inning. Jack Hannahan had a two-run single and Xavier Paul delivered a sacrifice fly.
Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier each drove in a run for the Reds.
Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw is feeling much better as spring training wraps up. And that's a very important development for the Dodgers.
Kershaw struck out eight over six innings.
"I feel good, which is a good thing," said Kershaw, who is scheduled to start on opening day against San Francisco at Dodger Stadium. "Overall, these past two, three starts, I felt better."
The left-hander allowed three runs and four hits. He walked three, including the first two batters he faced.
It was a much different performance than the one he had against San Diego on March 5, when he struggled through three innings, allowing four runs and seven hits.
"It was really that one against San Diego that I didn't like a whole lot," he said. "Other than that, I felt OK. Now, it's time to get going."
With manager Don Mattingly still to finalize who will begin the season at shortstop, Luis Cruz hit a three-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the fourth for Los Angeles.
Hanley Ramirez underwent surgery on Friday to repair a right thumb injury. He is expected to be sidelined for eight weeks, leaving an opening in the infield.
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