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Reds' De La Cruz hits 1st homer, Dodgers skid at 4 with 8-6 loss

By AP | Jun 8, 2023

Cincinnati Reds' Elly De La Cruz gestures as he watches his two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers, his first homer in the majors, during the first inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati, Wednesday, June 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Elly De La Cruz hit a 458-foot drive for his first major league homer and Will Benson hit a game-ending home run in the ninth that lifted the Cincinnati Reds over Los Angeles 8-6 on Wednesday night and extended the Dodgers' losing streak to a season-high four.

De La Cruz hit an 0-1 fastball from an again ineffective Noah Syndergaard in the first inning that left the bat at 114.8 mph and landed in the last rows of the right-field stands at Great American Ball Park. The two-run homer tied the score 2-2.

A day after making his big league debut, the 21-year-old switch-hitter had the second-hardest-hit home run by a player 21 or younger since Statcast started tracking in 2015, behind only Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 115.9 mph on Aug. 21, 2020.

"The first thing I thought was that ball's gone," De la Cruz said through a translator. "I didn't know where it landed. I was looking at my teammates. They told me it almost left the building."

De La Cruz played shortstop a day after manning third, He tripled on a curveball in the third as part of a 2 for 4 night, a drive that went to the wall in right-center on four hops. He reached third in 10.83 seconds, the fastest time in the major leagues this season, according to Statcast. It was the second-fastest since the start of the 2020 season behind 10.75 seconds for Arizona's Corbin Carroll last Oct. 3.

Cincinnati overcame a 6-2 deficit in a four-run third on Jonathan India's sacrifice fly, Spencer Steer's RBI single and Tyler Stephenson's two-run homer.

TJ Hopkins reached on an infield single in the ninth and Benson homered off Evan Phillips (1-2), giving Cincinnati its second straight walk-off win and a three-game winning streak. Benson became the third Cincinnati player with a walk-off for his first home run after Jay Bruce on May 31, 2008, and Drew Stubbs on Aug. 20, 2009.

"Honestly, you can't dream it," Benson said. "I was trying to get ready. I knew my time was coming up to bat. I knew it. I got it clean. You play with raw emotion, play with everything you have. When you succeed it overcomes you."

Alexis Díaz (2-1) struck out two in a perfect ninth. Cincinnati helped itself with four stolen bases.

Mookie Betts his 42nd leadoff homer, his sixth this season, and Muncy added an RBI single against Brandon Williamson in a two-run first. Betts has 16 home runs this season.

Miguel Vargas' second-inning homer put the Dodgers ahead 3-2 and Will Smith added a two-run homer in a three-run third that included Vargas' RBI double.

Syndergaard allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings, raising his ERA to 7.16. He has given up five runs or more in three straight starts. He has been dealing with a blister on his throwing hand.

"Noah has been going through it all year. It is not from lack of effort or preparation. It's just not working, Dave Roberts said. "There's things with that blister. There was a fingernail break tonight. He's not going to make excuses. He understands about performance.

"We're going to sit down with him and try to figure out. Obviously, we can't continue at this pace of performance," Roberts said. "There might be an opportunity to give him a reset to get this taken care of. You give up a lead. Get the lead again and give it up, it takes a toll on the offense. We couldn't overcome it."

Williamson, making his fifth big league start, gave up a career-worst six runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"That is very difficult to do what he did," Reds manager David Bell said. "It probably won the game for us. It was a tough few innings to stay with it. We couldn't have won the game unless he did what he did".

DEBUT

Jonny DeLuca, the Dodgers' 25th round selection in the 2019 amateur draft, was 0 for 2 with a walk in his debut and played center field. ... Dodgers RHP Nick Robertson made his debut with two perfect innings. He threw a called third strike past De La Cruz - his first batter - starting the fifth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Daniel Hudson (left knee surgery) began a minor league rehab assignment with a perfect inning for the Arizona Complex League Dodgers on Tuesday. He is a few weeks out according to Dave Roberts. ... OF Trayce Thompson will be out "north of 30 days" with an grade two or grade three oblique strain. He is rehabbing in Arizona. ... INF Miguel Rojas left the game with neck tightness.

Reds: OF Jake Fraley was scratched from the starting lineup with swelling in his right forearm. He was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning on Tuesday. OF TJ Friedl (hamstring) took batting practice and could be activated on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Reds RHP Graham Ashcraft (3-4, 6.64) will face LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-4, 3.25) on Thursday.

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