LOS ANGELES – On a cool Southern California evening, Cincinnati Reds rookie Hunter Greene brought some record-setting heat.
After five overpowering innings, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally caught up.
Trea Turner launched a two-run homer to snap a scoreless tie in the sixth and the Dodgers beat the skidding Reds 5-2 on Saturday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
In his highly anticipated homecoming, Greene threw an astounding 39 pitches 100 mph or faster — most in a single game since pitch tracking began in 2008. The previous mark was 33 by New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom last June.
Making his second major league start, the 22-year-old right-hander, who went to high school in nearby Sherman Oaks, also fired 13 pitches at least 101 mph — another record for a starter.
The moment finally hit Greene in the third inning, but only emotionally. He said he became teary-eyed on the bench amid the enormity of the occasion, and was choked up after walking off the mound in the sixth.
“I wish we would have come out with a win, but it was a really, really fun time,” Greene said. “It was an unbelievable feeling and experience to go against that lineup. Freddie (Freeman) gave me some love, kind of a tip of the cap, so that was cool. I was happy to be able to do that here and have family here.”
But with Greene's velocity dipping slightly later in his outing, it was a 99 mph fastball to Turner that ended up in the left-field seats.
“We still had to be ready for 99 with a pretty good slider and decent changeup,” Turner said. “He’s tough no matter how hard he’s throwing, whether it’s 99 or 101, but I think we did a good job battling.”
Turner finished with three hits, including an infield single in the first. The speedy shortstop has a hit in all eight games this season, and in 27 straight going back to last year. It is the third-longest hitting streak in the team’s Los Angeles history.
Dodgers starter Julio Urías, his velocity down during the spring and through his first outing of the season, managed to outpitch Greene by giving up one hit over five shutout innings.
The Reds didn’t get their first hit until Tyler Stephenson ripped a single past second baseman Max Muncy in the fifth. An inning later, the Dodgers finally broke through.
Austin Barnes led off the sixth against Greene with a single. Turner followed by hitting a 1-1 fastball halfway up the bleachers in left field for his first home run of the season.
Freeman followed with a strikeout but reached first base on Stephenson’s passed ball. Justin Turner popped out and Reds manager David Bell replaced Greene with right-hander Buck Farmer.
The Dodgers added two more runs, one charged to Greene, when Chris Taylor hit a two-run single with two outs.
“He wasn’t really going to give us anything, so we had to earn it,” Turner said. “He kept us down the first 5 1/2 innings and we finally got to him. But he’s really good and I’m glad we came out with the win.”
Greene (1-1) gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits in 5 1/3 innings, with no walks and six strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches.
The Reds lost their fifth consecutive game — their last victory came last Sunday when Greene made his major league debut in Atlanta.
At first, Greene said he cried on the bench in the third inning.
“I didn’t cry, that was just a poor choice of words,” he said with a laugh. “I just teared up a little bit.
“I was sitting on the bench and it just randomly hit me. I think I looked up and I could hear the roar and the feeling of it. … Up here, it’s a totally different atmosphere. And to be here at Dodger Stadium as a kid, I think all of those factors played into that moment.”
The big stage didn’t shake him on the field. Even the home run from Turner came on a pitch at the edge of the plate.
“Usually it takes a little longer to find that (composure) for a young player,” Bell said. “He’ll have his moments, but to have the experience he’s had is speeding up that development.”
Freeman added a sacrifice fly in the seventh to make it 5-0.
Urías walked one and struck out five. He was in the 92 mph range with his fastball after sitting at 91 in his season debut. He still is down from his 94 mph average velocity during his 20-win season of 2021.
The Reds got on the scoreboard in the ninth with an RBI groundout by Taylor Naquin and an RBI single from Tommy Pham off reliever Mitch White.
Daniel Hudson got two outs for his first save this season.
Evan Phillips (1-1) earned the win with a scoreless sixth inning.
The Reds sent right-hander Riley O’Brien to Seattle for a player to be named or cash. O’Brien was designated for assignment Wednesday to make room on the 40-man roster for left-hander Nick Lodolo.
Reds: INF/OF Nick Senzel was placed on the COVID-19 injured list Friday, although Bell said Senzel has not tested positive. Senzel began feeling ill before Friday’s game. RHP Daniel Duarte was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. … While the hamstring strain for 2B Jonathan India continues to improve, the Reds will wait until Sunday to decide if an IL move is necessary.
Dodgers: RHP Tommy Kahnle, who has just one major league outing since 2019 after having Tommy John surgery, made his third consecutive scoreless rehab outing at Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (1-0, 1.00 ERA) makes his third start of the season in the series finale Sunday. He is 2-1 in four starts against the Dodgers with a 2.05 ERA.
Dodgers: LHP Andrew Heaney (0-0, 0.00) will pitch at home with his new team for the first time after throwing 4 1/3 scoreless innings at Minnesota on Tuesday.
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