Dodgers ride 2 home runs from Teoscar Hernandez to victory over Cardinals – Orange County Register

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LOS ANGELES — For three games, Teoscar Hernandez’s ability to hit left-handed pitching was just theoretical – like a new hire who claimed on his resumé to be bilingual.

Hernandez put his skill to good use Friday night, hitting home runs in his first two at-bats against left-handed pitching this season and driving in four runs as the Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3.

Hernandez carried the load on a night when the three former MVPs at the top of the Dodgers’ lineup went a combined 1 for 11 with four strikeouts.

The one hit, though, was a home run by Mookie Betts, leading off the bottom of the first inning. It was the 49th leadoff home run of his career, breaking a tie with Ian Kinsler and moving him into fifth place all-time (Rickey Henderson’s 81 are the MLB record).

Twenty-nine of those leadoff home runs by Betts have come since he joined the Dodgers in 2020, breaking another tie – with Davey Lopes for the franchise record.

Betts also walked in the game and has reached base in 13 of his first 19 plate appearances this season.

Hernandez was not off to good start. Signed for one year and $23.5 million ($8.5 million of it – of course – deferred), he was 2 for his first 12 with seven strikeouts – well on his way to matching last year’s unsightly total of 211 strikeouts (third in the majors).

But he had yet to take an at-bat against a left-handed pitcher, against whom he has a career OPS of .887 (more than 100 points higher than his OPS against right-handers).

The Cardinals took care of that, starting lefty Zack Thompson on Friday night.

In his first at-bat against Thompson, Hernandez got a 1-and-0 fastball up and out over the plate and lined it over the wall in right field for an opposite-field solo homer.

Two innings later, Will Smith walked with one out and Max Muncy followed with a single. Thompson’s first pitch to Hernandez was a hanging curveball and Hernandez sent it on a 370-foot journey into the left field pavilion for a three-run homer.

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