EditorsNote: rewords headline
During a day of returns, it was Joc Pederson who delivered the final blow, crushing a walk-off, two-run home run in the ninth inning Monday to give the host Los Angeles Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
In their first game back at Dodger Stadium, the Reds’ Yasiel Puig hit a home run and Matt Kemp hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth, but the Dodgers prevailed nonetheless. Kemp and Puig were traded from the Dodgers to the Reds in a seven-player deal in December.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (1-0) gave up Kemp’s run-scoring single but earned the victory thanks to Pederson’s heroics. Pederson hit a 1-1 pitch off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias (0-3), his seventh of the season. Pederson pointed to the dugout and pounded his chest as the ball raced toward the seats in right-center.
Puig hit a two-run home run off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw to give the Reds a 2-0 lead in the opening inning in his first at-bat as a visitor at Dodger Stadium. It was Puig’s 50th career home run at Dodger Stadium.
It was also a return for Kershaw, at least back to the field, as the left-hander was making his first start of the season after recovering from shoulder inflammation that surfaced during spring training.
After Puig’s one-out home run inning, Kershaw recorded 17 outs over a stretch of 17 batters, giving up two hits in that span but erasing the baserunners with a double-play grounder and a pickoff. Puig ended that run with a seventh-inning single, but he was eliminated on a fielder’s choice, and the Reds never advanced a runner past first in the inning.
Kershaw gave up two runs on five hits over seven innings (84 pitches), with no walks and six strikeouts. Reds starter Luis Castillo gave up two runs on four hits over five innings, ending his streak of six consecutive starts, dating back to last season, of allowing one earned run or none. Castillo also walked five and struck out seven.
The Dodgers cut the Reds’ lead in half during the bottom of the first inning on a run-scoring ground-rule double from Cody Bellinger. Two innings later, Bellinger was hit by a Castillo pitch on the side of his right knee, and he left the game before the start of the fourth.
The Dodgers were poised for a big inning in the fifth, tying the game 2-2 on a one-out, bases-loaded walk to A.J. Pollock. But Max Muncy struck out and Enrique Hernandez lined out to end the threat.
The Dodgers recorded their quirkiest out of the young season in the third inning when Castillo hit a ball in front of Bellinger in right field but was thrown out at first base when he didn’t run out of the batter’s box. Castillo appeared to lose track of the ball after he cracked his bat on contact.
—Field Level Media