LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 4-3 comeback victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night in Clayton Kershaw’s season debut.
Raisel Iglesias (0-3) walked pinch-hitter David Freese leading off before Pederson homered over the right field wall, pointing into the Dodger dugout and thumping his chest as he left the box. The Reds had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the inning on former teammate Matt Kemp’s RBI single with two outs.
Retired broadcaster Vin Scully got Dodger Stadium buzzing with a surprise pregame appearance to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day.
Kershaw then gave Los Angeles a lift, even though the three-time Cy Young Award winner didn’t factor into the decision. Kershaw had been bothered by left shoulder inflammation in spring training. The left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Closer Kenley Jansen (1-0) got the win.
Former Dodger Yasiel Puig made his presence felt immediately, hammering a two-run shot in the first off Kershaw that gave the Reds a 2-0 lead. Puig received a mix of boos and cheers.
The Dodgers lost NL home run leader Cody Bellinger in the third when he got drilled on the right kneecap by a 95 mph pitch from Luis Castillo.
Bellinger got knocked down and eventually got up to hobble to first base. He stayed there until Castillo got the last two outs of the innings via strikeout. Bellinger was replaced by Alex Verdugo in right field.
Bellinger leads the NL with nine homers, 22 runs, 22 RBIs and a .424 batting average.
His ground-rule double into the right field corner left the Dodgers trailing 2-1 in the first.
Castillo gave up a bases-loaded walk to A.J. Pollock that tied it at 2 in the fifth.
Reds: 1B Joey Votto had the night off before pinch-hitting in the eighth. … LHP Alex Wood (lower back) joined the team in LA from Goodyear, Arizona, where he has been rehabbing.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (left knee strain) makes a minor league rehab start Wednesday at Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He’ll toss four innings and 60 pitches, followed by an inning in the bullpen. … LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left groin strain) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (0-0, 0.82 ERA) won his only career start against LA at Dodger Stadium last May.
Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (2-1, 4.76) has a 1-1 record with 4.61 ERA in three career starts against Cincinnati. He’s struck out 16 and walked three.