LOS ANGELES (AP) Kike Hernandez has performed more than adequately in every position in which Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has used him. That versatility has provided them with a much-needed spark – at the plate and on the bases.
Saturday night he showed off his power, capping a five-run second inning with a three-run homer in the Dodgers’ 8-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
”Being a utility guy in the minor leagues is what got me to the big leagues,” said Hernandez, who is getting additional playing time at second base with Howie Kendrick on the disabled list. ”I took advantage of my versatility, and that’s why I’m here – because I can play a lot of positions. We have a lot of everyday players, and I’m just a role player right now. I hope it’s different in the future – but for now, I’m all right with it as long as I’m on this team.”
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Hernandez is batting .301 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 59 games.
Hernandez, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner went deep against Cincinnati rookie David Holmberg and Gonzalez made it 8-3 in the fourth against Pedro Villarreal with his team-high 24th homer. It was the Dodgers’ NL-high 144th – already 10 more than they had all of last season – and that’s without Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, who were traded during the offseason.
”We’re getting power from everybody we expected power from,” Gonzalez said. ”It was good. We needed runs early to get on the board, and Kike’s homer put us in the drivers’ seat. I don’t think the lineup is just about me and Justin. It’s about everybody hitting and contributing.”
Brett Anderson (7-7) shrugged off a two-run homer in the first by Todd Frazier and yielded one more run during the rest of his six-inning stint. The seven-year veteran allowed six hits and recorded only one flyball out in his first career start against Cincinnati.
Holmberg (1-2) threw 64 pitches in two-plus innings and retired only five of the 15 batters he faced in his 10th big league start – including Anderson on a sacrifice bunt and Turner on a double-play grounder.
The 24-year-old lefty, inserted into the rotation on July 30 following the trade of Johnny Cueto to Kansas City, was charged with seven runs, five hits and four walks. The three homers Holmberg gave up came during a span of nine batters.
It was Cincinnati’s 17th consecutive game with a rookie starting pitcher – the longest such streak by any club since September 1997, when St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa used a rookie starter in 19 straight games.
In all, eight rookie pitchers have started a combined 63 games for the Reds this season, the most by their rotation since 2001 (77).
Frazier, who won last month’s All-Star Home Run Derby by beating the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson with his final swing, gave the Reds a 2-0 lead in the first with a first-pitch drive over the fence in right-center after a two-out single by Joey Votto.
It was Frazier’s 29th homer and major league-best 63rd extra-base hit. But the Dodgers grabbed a 5-2 lead one inning later. Puig ignited the rally with his leadoff homer to center field on a full count.
Votto, who leads the NL with 41 multihit games, cut the margin to 5-3 in the third with a two-out RBI double.
But Turner, a seventh-round draft pick by Cincinnati in 2006, responded in the bottom half with his first homer in 62 career at-bats against the Reds to that point. Holmberg walked his next two batters – just like he did after Puig’s homer.
”He’s not that type of pitcher. He’s a strike thrower and not a guy that backs down,” manager Bryan Price said. ”He didn’t have a feel for his location, he didn’t have great stuff, and the Dodgers took advantage of him.
”Some of his misses were by such a significant margin that there was obviously something that was off with him. He just wasn’t able to get comfortable within his delivery and make the types of pitches that we’ve seen from him during his time in the big leagues. `’
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (7-7) is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in eight road starts since back-to-back losses in Atlanta and Pittsburgh May 1 and 7.
Dodgers: RHP Zack Greinke (12-2) is 7-0 with a 1.15 ERA over his last 10 starts – lowering his overall ERA to a major league-best 1.59. He is trying to become the first pitcher in franchise history to record five consecutive months with an ERA under 2.00 during the same season.