The Los Angeles Dodgers entered Friday’s game on a three-game losing streak and in a scoring drought as they hadn’t pushed a run across in 31 consecutive innings. They faced the San Diego Padres, who similarly had been struggling at the plate, going scoreless in 14 straight innings.
After Justin Turner hit a leadoff single in the fifth and took an extra base as Will Veneable booted the ball, Andre Ethier snapped the streak by ripping an RBI double down the right field line. “It was pretty frustrating,” Joc Pederson said of the club’s recent inability to score.
“We had some runners in scoring position the past few days and no one really came through. Then when Dre [Ethier] did that today it’s huge. We needed that.” While Zack Greinke was in a groove for most of the night, the Padres managed to end their drought and tie the game in the seventh inning.
Pederson nearly threw out Derek Norris at home plate, but the San Diego catcher beat the throw and A.J. Ellis’ tag by a slim margin. With one out and game still tied in the bottom of the eighth, Pederson came to the plate facing Joaquin Benoit.
The rookie center fielder fell behind in the count 0-2 but broke the tie on the third pitch of the at-bat by belting a solo home run into right-center field. Asked if he tends to shorten his swing with two strikes against him, Pederson joked, “I think you’ve seen my strikeouts.”
The home run was Pederson’s 11th on the season, which leads the team, and first since May 13. He’s batting .242/.388/.545 on the season, including .208/.337/.545 with eight of his 11 home runs and 13 of 22 RBIs when hitting in the leadoff spot.