GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The stage was set for a pitchers' duel in the desert on Tuesday night when the Dodgers visited the Reds, and the two star right-handers did not disappoint.
Josh Beckett of the Dodgers and Mat Latos of the host Reds looked sharp and kept the scoring to a minimum in a 6-2 Cincinnati victory before 5,369 in Goodyear Ballpark.
Reds outfielder Donald Lutz broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with an RBI triple that held up as the game-winning hit.
The Dodgers scored when Dee Gordon led off the game with a single, stole second base and scored on a single by the next batter, Mark Ellis. But Latos bore down, striking out Matt Kemp and inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez, and after that Latos was almost perfect, retiring 11 of his next 12 hitters and striking out the side in the third, with the only blemish being a hard-hit ground ball by Gonzalez in the fourth inning that was scored an error on shortstop Zack Cozart. Latos gave up a run on two hits in four innings and struck out six without walking a batter.
"He looked great," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Latos. "He threw the ball great. He's probably a little tough on himself sometimes in between pitches, but he was excellent."
Beckett was pretty good, too. His only major mistake was leaving a ball up to smoldering Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who belted a solo home run to right field in the third inning to tie the score. Choo went 1-for-2 and has hit safely in six of his last 10 plate appearances. He's hitting .429 for the spring.
Beckett went 4 1/3 innings and gave up a run on two hits while striking out five and walking two.
Cincinnati reliever Sam LeCure turned in an impressive performance, relieving Latos with two innings of scoreless baseball and striking out three batters.
Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly took the loss by giving up five runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings, though only one of the runs was earned, thanks to an eighth-inning throwing error by first-base prospect Scott Van Slyke.
Devin Mesoraco, competing for the Reds' backup catcher job, doubled in two as the Reds scored four times in the eighth.
"That was a big two-out hit," Baker said. "We've been leaving a lot of men on base with less than two outs. Both sides did. I guess it's an epidemic around baseball. It's everywhere. And we're trying to get well in that respect here, so we're working on it."
Up next: After a day off on Wednesday (except for Chad Billingsley's simulated game), the Dodgers host the Cubs at 1:05 p.m. PT on Thursday, with Chris Capuano starting against Chris Rusin. Manager Don Mattingly said it's time to get his regulars more at-bats, so the lineup should include Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Luis Cruz and A.J. and Mark Ellis.