SAN DIEGO (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie Cody Bellinger is making it look easy.
“It’s not,” Bellinger said after homering twice and driving in four runs to lead the Dodgers to an 8-2 victory against the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
“I’m just getting good pitches to hit and just trying to do the most with it that I can.”
Bellinger has four homers in 10 games. He avoided being sent back to the minors when Adrian Gonzalez went on the disabled list for the first time in his 14-year career.
“I’ve said it before, him going on the DL, you never want to see it,” Bellinger said. “He’s been awesome to me. He’s been a guy that I looked up to growing up and he’s kind of taken me under his wing. A healthy Adrian is a scary Adrian for opposing pitchers.”
Bellinger, the son of former big leaguer Clay Bellinger, capped his big night with a three-run shot to straightaway center field off Miguel Diaz with one out in the ninth. He hit a leadoff homer to right off Jhoulys Chacin in the fourth.
“I was trying to go down and away with my sinker. The ball just stayed flat in the middle,” Chacin said. “You know he’s swinging the bat hard. With guys like him you have to be careful.”
The 21-year-old Bellinger made his big league debut on April 25. He homered twice on April 29 against Philadelphia. He would have been sent down to Triple-A after outfielder Joc Pederson came off the disabled list Friday, but he stayed with the big league club when Gonzalez went on the DL.
“When you a see a young player coming, everyone has an expectation of how it’s going to play out,” manager Dave Roberts said. “With Cody, every time he steps on the field, let alone in the batter’s box, you think something really exciting or special is going to happen and that’s sort of the way it’s played out.”
Said Padres manager Andy Green: “I’ve been aware of him for quite some time now and he took some very good swings today. We’ll have to execute our pitches better. I don’t think we hit spots on either one of those home run swings he had. To his credit, you make a mistake, he made us pay today.”
Kenta Maeda and five relievers combined on a four-hitter for the Dodgers. At 4 hours, 11 minutes, it was the longest nine-inning home game in Padres history.
Andrew Toles hit a two-run double in the seventh inning off Jose Torres (1-2) to make it 3-2 Los Angeles.
Sergio Romo (1-1) got the final two outs of the sixth with the bases loaded for his first victory with the Dodgers. Three Dodgers pitchers each walked a batter in the inning. Maeda issued a leadoff walk to Wil Myers and was replaced by Luis Avilan, who walked Yangervis Solarte and struck out Ryan Schimpf. Romo came on to walk Austin Hedges before striking out Hunter Renfroe and getting Erick Aybar to line out to third.
Josh Fields threw 1 1/3 innings for his first save.
The Padres tied it at 1 in the fourth when they got their first hit off Maeda, a leadoff double by Cory Spangenberg. Yangervis Solarte walked and Ryan Schimpf hit an RBI single to right. Yasiel Puig threw out Solarte at third.
The Padres grabbed the lead with an unearned run in the fifth on Manuel Margot’s sacrifice fly. Aybar singled with one out and advanced to third when Bellinger committed a throwing error on Chacin’s sacrifice bunt. Margot followed with his sac fly.
Maeda struck out six straight in the second and third innings and finished with eight Ks in five-plus innings. He allowed two runs, one earned, and three hits.
Chacin allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Dodgers: Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his 14-year big league career, with right elbow soreness. Gonzalez had played 1,774 games without a DL trip, the most among active players. The Dodgers reinstated Pederson, who had been sidelined with a right groin strain.
Padres: C Hector Sanchez was hit on the right foot by a foul ball by Pederson in the sixth. After being checked by the trainer and manager Andy Green, Sanchez was replaced by Hedges.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 2.61 ERA) had his start moved up from Sunday after RHP Brandon McCarthy tweaked his left shoulder in the weight room. Kershaw beat the Padres 14-3 on opening day. McCarthy is now scheduled to start Sunday.
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (2-3, 4.29 ERA) earned the only victory for San Diego in a season-opening, four-game series at Dodger Stadium, winning 4-0 on April 4.