The Dodgers were trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth when Joc Pederson hit a walk-off two-run home run, sending the Dodgers to a 4-3 win over the Reds. Pederson’s walk-off capped a thrilling night that included the strong return of Clayton Kershaw and a celebrating Jackie Robinson.
When Pederson came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers trailed by a run with David Freese on first base. When the pitcher missed his target and threw a high slider, Pederson pounced on it and sent it into the right-field pavilion.
Pederson’s homer gave the Dodgers the comeback win only moments after the Reds took a 3-2 lead against Kenley Jansen. Jansen entered in a tie game, but it didn’t stay tied for long as Curt Casali doubled to lead off the inning, then scored on a Matt Kemp RBI single.
The late-inning drama overshadowed Kershaw’s return from the injured list. As you very well know, the Dodger pitching staff hasn’t been great so they needed their Ace back. And Kershaw delivered, going 7 innings, allowing 2 runs, while striking out 6 and walking 0.
Strangely enough, it was Yasiel Puig who drove in the two runs against Kershaw, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning. The pitch wasn’t even a bad one. Kershaw threw a breaking ball exactly where the catcher was set up but Puig was able to hit it.
After the Puig homer, Kershaw went on a tear, allowing just 3 more hits and no more runs. His fastball was right around 90 mph, which is slow compared to what it used to be, but he was getting outs. His breaking pitches were also sharp, especially his curveball.
You may have noticed that all the players were wearing number 42 last night. And if you haven’t picked up on it, they’re doing it to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day. Yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of Robinson’s major league debut when he broke the color barrier in baseball.
Robinson stayed cool-headed despite thousands of insults and death threats for both him and his family. But Robinson and Dodger owner, Branch Rickey, knew that prejudiced could only be fought by taking the high road.
Besides what he did for civil rights, Robinson also put up great baseball numbers. He slashed .311/.409/.474 with 174 homers. He won a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP award, was a 6x All-Star, and won a batting title.
The Dodgers will look to win 3 in a row in game 2 against the Reds. Kenta Maeda will start for the Dodgers against Tyler Mahle. Maeda is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA and Mahle is 0-0 with a 0.82 ERA in few innings than Maeda. The game will begin at 7:10 pm.