LOS ANGELES — On a chilly Southern California evening, Cincinnati Reds rookie Hunter Greene brought record-breaking heat.
After five damning innings, the Los Angeles Dodgers have finally caught up.
Trea Turner homered two runs to break a scoreless tie in the sixth and the Dodgers skidded the Reds 5-2 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win.
In his highly anticipated return, Greene threw 39 pitches at 100 mph or more – 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 threw 13 pitches at at least 101 mph – another record for a starter.
The moment finally hit Greene in the third inning, but only emotionally. He said he had tears in his eyes on the bench amid the enormity of the occasion and choked up after coming off the mound in the sixth.
“I wish we’d come out with a win, but it was a really, really fun time,” Greene said. “It was an incredible feeling and experience to go against this formation. Freddie [Freeman] Gave me some love, kind of a tip, so that was cool. I was happy to be able to do that here and have family here.”
But with Greene’s speed dropping 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 shifting,” Turner said. “He’s tough no matter how hard he throws, whether it’s 99 or 101, but I think we did a good job fighting.”
Turner finished with three hits, including a field single in the first. The speedy shortstop has one hit in all eight games this season and 27 straight since last year. It is the third-longest hitting streak in team history in Los Angeles.
Dodgers starter Julio Urías, whose speed waned in the spring and on his first outing of the season, managed to edge Greene by allowing one hit in five shutout innings.
The Reds didn’t get their first hit until Tyler Stephenson ripped a second baseman past Max Muncy at fifth. An inning later, the Dodgers finally broke through.
Austin Barnes opened the sixth against Greene with a single. Turner followed by hitting a 1-1 fastball halfway up the bleachers into left field for his first home run of the season.
Freeman followed with a strikeout but reached first base on a fly ball passed by Stephenson. Justin Turner is out and Reds manager David Bell replaces Greene with right-hander Buck Farmer.
The Dodgers added two more runs, including one to Greene, when Chris Taylor hit a two-out two-run single.
“He wasn’t really going to give us anything, so we had to earn it,” Turner said. “He kept us from playing the first 5 and a half innings and we finally got to him. But he’s really good and I’m happy we got the win.”
Greene (1-1) allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in 5 1/3 innings, no walks and six strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches.
The Reds lost their fifth straight 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, it was just a bad choice of words,” he said with a laugh. “I just cried a little bit.
“I was sitting on the bench and it randomly hit me. I think I looked up and I could hear the roar and the feel of it. … Here it’s an atmosphere totally different. And being here at Dodger Stadium as a kid, I think all of those factors played into that moment.”
The big scene did not shake him on the pitch. Even Turner’s home run came on a pitch at home plate.
“Usually it takes a little longer to find that (calmness) for a young player,” Bell said. “He will have his moments, but having the experience he has had speeds up that development.”
Freeman added a sacrifice fly ball 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 on his season debut. He’s still down from his 94mph average speed in his 20-win season in 2021.
The Reds got on the scoreboard in the ninth with an RBI groundout from Taylor Naquin and an RBI single from Tommy Pham against reliever Mitch White.
Daniel Hudson got two outs for his first save this season.
Evan Phillips (1-1) took the win with a scoreless sixth inning.
BUSINESS DECISION MAKERS
The Reds sent right-hander Riley O’Brien to Seattle for a player to be named or paid. O’Brien was designated for an 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 on Friday, although Bell said Senzel did not test positive. Senzel started to feel bad before Friday’s game. RHP Daniel Duarte has been recalled from Triple-A Louisville. … As 2B Jonathan India’s hamstring strain continues to improve, the Reds will wait until Sunday to decide if a move to IL is necessary.
Dodgers: RHP Tommy Kahnle, who has just one major league outing since 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, made his third straight rehab outing without a score Friday at Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (1-0, 1.00 ERA) makes his third start of the season in Sunday’s series finale. He’s 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 pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings at Minnesota on Tuesday.