LOS ANGELES. CA-Yasiel Puig took his opening standoff against Clayton Kershaw and went yard on the Los Angeles Dodgers ace. The two-run home run by Puig, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, along with veteran outfielder Matt Kemp in the offseason, handed the Dodgers an immediate 2-0 hole after that first inning blast.
But Joc Pederson decided to do one better than Puig, hammering a two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a 4-3 at Dodger Stadium. It was a fitting ending on a very fitting night as the Dodgers and the rest of Major League Baseball paid tribute to the late, great Jackie Robinson on what would have been his 100th birthday.
All across the league, all teams wore the patented and iconic No. 42. During a pregame salute to Robinson, the legendary voice of the Dodgers, Vince Scully, escorted Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, unto the playing field through a funnel of 42 Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars.
The centennial year celebration also brought out Robinson’s two children: Sharon and David, both of whom threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Dodgers and the Reds did their rivalry thing on the field. After serving up the home run to Puig, Kershaw settled down enough to pitch seven innings in his 2019 debut.
During his first official outing of the regular season, Kershaw struck out six batters, including whiffing Puig on his next at-bat and only gave up five hits before departing. The Dodgers didn’t waste time slicing into the Reds’ early lead as they scored a run in the bottom of the first inning to make it a 2-1 ballgame. The Dodgers eventually tied the game in the fifth inning, effectively taking out Cincinnati starter Louis Castillo.
Pederson’s heroics was set after Kemp drove in a run in the ninth to give the Reds a 3-2 edge in the top of the ninth inning.