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.
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.”
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.
Reds RHP Graham Ashcraft (3-4, 6.64) gets the ball despite major struggles lately and will face LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-4, 3.25) in today’s finale. First pitch is 12:35 p.m.
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