LOS ANGELES — On a night in which hits were scarce for the Dodgers’ lineup, Max Muncy’s bat proved to be the difference maker in a 3-2 win at home against the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. Cincinnati’s pitching staff managed to cruise through the Dodger lineup by only surrendering two hits to the boys in blue. However, both of those hits were sent over the right field fence by Muncy and accounted for all three Dodger runs.
In the bottom of the first, David Peralta lead off the game by reaching first on a botched ground ball by Reds’ third basemen Spencer Steer. Steer then retired Peralta on a force out at second base as Freddie Freeman grounded into a fielder’s choice. After Will Smith flew out to center, Muncy stepped into the batters box while in the midst of an 0-9 streak at the plate. With two outs and Freeman at first, Muncy blasted a two-run homer off Reds’ pitcher Luke Weaver into the right field bleachers to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers maintained their early lead until the Reds tied the game with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth. However, Muncy once again stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the inning. With the rest of LA’s lineup going 0-15 since Muncy’s two-run shot in the first, Weaver pitched with caution to the only Dodger batter to record a hit in the game. With a 3-0 count Muncy let loose a green light swing that resulted in a go-ahead solo shot into the right field pavilion to put his team ahead 3-2. Muncy’s two homers on Saturday tied the slugger with teammate Mookie Betts and Phillies’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber for the third most home runs in the National League at 27. Muncy also now has 14 career multi-homer games with five of them being recorded this season.
The Dodgers’ pitching staff also played a vital role in Saturday’s win with starting pitcher Emmet Sheehan tossing five innings while allowing two hits with no runs and recording five strike outs. The 23 year old rookie’s start against Cincinnati showed great improvement from his previous outing against the Texas Rangers, during which he surrendered eight earned runs.
A familiar face for the Dodgers also contributed to the victory as Joe Kelly picked up the win in his 2023 debut with his old ball club after being traded from the White Sox on Friday. Kelly came in for relief for Caleb Ferguson in a tight situation after the Reds tied the game in the sixth. As Kelly escaped a bases loaded jam on a strikeout, the faithful fans at Chavez Ravine roared in applause for the 2020 World Series champion.
With Saturday’s win the Dodgers evened the series against the Reds at one game a piece. Los Angeles will look to Michael Grove to clinch the series against Cincinnati on Sunday at 1:10 P.M. PST as the Dodgers continue their pursuit of a National League West title.