CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati Reds newcomer Elly De La Cruz predicted Matt McLain’s late-game heroics.
McLain’s single to deep center field highlighted a three-run comeback in the ninth inning as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-8 on Tuesday night.
Trailing 8-6 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Cincinnati loaded the bases against reliever Caleb Ferguson. Ferguson walked Curt Casali, scoring Spencer Steer and cutting the deficit to a run. Jake Fraley was hit by a pitch, scoring T.J. Hopkins and tying the game at 8.
Ferguson (3-1) was pulled for Shelby Miller. McLain then singled over the head of Jason Heyward in center field to score Stuart Fairchild and snap Cincinnati’s nine-game losing streak against the Dodgers.
De La Cruz embraced McLain after the game.
“I told him, ‘I told you,’” De La Cruz said he told McLain in that moment. “I told him before he hit the walk-off, I said, ‘Hey, you’re going to hit a walk-off.’ I said, ‘I told you, man’”
McLain finished with three singles for the Reds (28-33), who hadn’t beaten Los Angeles (35-26) since Sept. 17, 2021. Eduardo Salazar (1-0) earned the win, striking out two in an inning of relief.
“We kept playing through all nine innings,” McLain said. “The fans were in it, all nine. Obviously, Elly was making his debut. It was cool.”
De La Cruz, ranked as the game’s third-best prospect according to Baseball America, made his major league debut. The 21-year-old batted cleanup and finished with a hit, two walks and a run scored in three at-bats.
“I’m just every excited to be here,” he said. “In just trying to give the team an opportunity to win, and sure enough, we did that today.”
Mookie Betts led off the game with a ground ball right at De La Cruz down the third-base line. Betts stood at first with a base hit after De La Cruz was unable to snag it.
“I thought it was a foul ball,” De La Cruz said. “But it’s OK.”
Betts scored two batters later on a double by Max Muncy. Betts jump-started a three-run first for the Dodgers, who were looking to rebound after dropping two games of a three-game set at home against the New York Yankees over the weekend.
Cincinnati countered with three runs in the bottom half of the first. Fraley and McLain had back-to-back singles and Jonathan India hit a fly ball to Betts in right. The out set up runners on the corners for De La Cruz.
Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin tossed a curveball low and inside to De La Cruz, who nearly came out of his shoes for strike one. The 6-foot-5 slugger then settled in and drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases for Steer. Gonsolin plunked Steer to bring home Cincinnati’s first run, and then Tyler Stephenson brought home McLain and De La Cruz on a line drive single to center field.
“We score three runs in the first inning, and to go back and give away three runs in the bottom half, not good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
The game remained tied at 3 in the third when De La Cruz hit a stand-up double, but he was stranded.
Los Angeles took a 4-3 lead in the fourth when J.D. Martinez hit a solo homer, his 15th of the season.
Reds starter Luke Weaver was pulled in favor of reliever Alex Young after allowing the four runs on six hits and walking Betts to load the bases. Freddie Freeman then tagged Young with his second grand slam of the season and the fifth of his career.
Despite the loss, the Dodgers are still 16-5 in their last 21 games against Cincinnati.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urías (hamstring) threw two innings of live batting practice and two more innings in the bullpen. Roberts said he expects Urías to start Sunday in Philadelphia. Urías has not pitched since being placed on the 10-day injured list May 21.
Reds: LF Nick Senzel (right knee soreness) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sunday. Manager David Bell said he thinks it will only be a “quick stint.” “We think 10 days will calm it down and get him through the rest of the year,” he said.
Thr Dodgers and Reds will be back at it Wednesday night. RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-4, 6.54 ERA) is scheduled to start for Los Angeles, while LHP Brandon Williamson (0-0, 4.29 ERA) will get the ball for Cincinnati.
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