Dodgers 9, Reds 3: Bats start quickly and blow the game open late in thrilling home opening win

The Dodgers welcomed the Reds to Dodger Stadium for their 2022 home opener and provided a 9-3 victory for the home crowd, though the scoreline wasn’t really reflective of the game.

While the Dodgers jumped out to an early lead, the Reds battled back and tied the game eventually, but the Boys In Blue had one of their explosive crooked number innings in the 8th that powered them to the victory.

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With the Reds staff quite a mess right now due to injuries (and roster construction), Luis Cessa started the game as an opener and had a bit of a disaster. He allowed back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back (five) singles to Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Will Smith, the latter three driving in a run each to make it 3-0 right off the bat.

On the other side was Walker Buehler. Due to the way things were scheduled, Buehler not only got Opening Day but also got the home opener. He cruised through the 1st frame on 11 pitches, but the 2nd was a lot more problematic. He eventually faced a bases loaded mess after a double, infield single, and walk, but he managed to avoid disaster.

Buehler allowed a single and walk in the 3rd, but was bailed out by Smith cutting down a runner trying to steal. After a clean 4th he then got through the 5th with only an infield single surrendered. Buehler seemed to be well on his way to six shutout with two soft groundouts, but he then issued a walk and was allowed to face Aristides Aquino, who he dominated twice earlier.

However, Buehler emphatically lost the seven-pitch battle in the 6th, surrendering a two-run bomb to center on a 93 mph fastball up. Probably a sign of fatigue there as he was approaching 100 pitches, and that made it 3-2.

His final line probably more accurately reflects the quality of his start, as he wasn’t at his best: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 98 Pitches.

David Price relieved Buehler and ended the 6th, then got two quick outs in the 7th, but gave up a game-tying homer to Brandon Drury that made it 3-3 before he was able to end the frame.

Genuinely don’t understand this one. I alluded to it at the time when he was allowed to continue in the 7th, but the Dodgers have 16 pitchers on the roster and arguably the other 15 are better than Price, who shouldn’t ever be relied upon to get four outs in a one-run game.

Oh right, the reason it was tied at that point is that bulk guy Reiver Sanmartin entered for the Reds and boy was he impressive. After a single to start, he got a lineout and then induced a double play, which allowed him to face the minimum for three innings. To start the 5th he got two more outs for 10 batters in a row retired before giving up a single to break the streak. However, he just started a new streak of four more to get through the 6th before he was mercifully removed.

Sanmartin’s final line was dominant: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 75 Pitches.

The Reds then turned to Hunter Strickland for the 7th, but he exited after giving up a one-out single and then a walk. Justin Wilson then faced Gavin Lux, who was pinch hitting for Hanser Alberto, and struck him out. Wilson then also struck out Mookie Betts on a rather frustrating sequence to end the threat.

For the Dodgers, the 8th belonged to Blake Treinen and he relatively cruised, notching a strikeout and two weak outs.

For the Reds, Wilson continued on in the 8th, and he was greeted immediately by a Freeman double, which was it for him. During the pitching change, Freddie got a warm welcome from his new home crowd that made for an emotional moment.

Tony Santillan was the man who took over and he was met by a Turner single to score Freeman to give the Dodgers the lead at 4-3.

After a strikeout, Smith smashed a ball off the wall in center that deflected off the glove of Jake Fraley and bounced out for a three-run homer and a 7-3 lead.

That kinda blew the floodgates open, as Ryan Hendrix then entered and he struggled. He gave up back-to-back singles to Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger to corner the runners, Bellinger then stole second, and Hendrix threw a wild pitch to advance them both with CT3 scoring. Hendrix then issued a walk to Lux, and gave up a single to Mookie to plate another run and make it 9-3 before ended the frame.

While Craig Kimbrel was up when the game was close, Evan Phillips entered with the lead stretched to six and continued to look great, mowing the Reds down in order.

Sorry, Kim-bro.

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Orel Hershiser returned for the home opener.

Joe Davis was … excited about Joey Votto.

Clayton Kershaw‘s color analyst audition.

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The Dodgers improve to 4-2 and have now rolled off three in a row after a surprising opening series loss against the Rockies.

The two teams will do it again tomorrow night at the same time of 4:10 PM HT/7:10 PM PT/10:10 PM ET in the second game of the four-game series. Tony Gonsolin will take the hill looking for an improved showing over his season debut, and he’ll face Vladimir Gutierrez.

About Chad Moriyama

"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times