CINCINNATI — Elly De La Cruz blasted a 458-foot drive for his first major league home run, and Will Benson hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning that gave the Cincinnati Reds an 8-6 win over Los Angeles on Wednesday night and extended Die The Dodgers’ losing streak has risen to four season highs.
De La Cruz, a 21-year-old switch hitter who was named Baseball’s Top Young Talent by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel in his updated rankings last month, hit a 0-1 fastball by Noah Syndergaard in the first inning. The ball left its racquet at 114.8 mph and landed in the back rows of the right stand at Great American Ball Park for a two-barrel home run that took the score to 2.
A day after making his big league debut, De La Cruz had the second-hardest hit home run by a player 21 or younger since Statcast began keeping a record in 2015, behind only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays at 115, 9 miles per hour on August 21st 2020.
“The first thing I thought was the ball was gone,” De La Cruz said through a translator. “I didn’t know where it ended up. I looked at my teammates. They told me it almost left the building.”
De La Cruz played as shortstop a day after third place and finished the game 2-4 at plate. In the third round he managed a triple with a curveball, which hit the wall with four jumps right in the middle. According to Statcast, he finished third in 10.83 seconds, the fastest time in the major leagues this season. It was the second-fastest time since the start of the 2020 season, behind 10.75 seconds for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll on Oct. 3.
Cincinnati overcame a 6-2 deficit in a four-run third through Jonathan India’s sacrificial flight, Spencer Steer’s RBI single and Tyler Stephenson’s two-run home run.
TJ Hopkins hit an infield single in the ninth run, and Benson hit a home run against Evan Phillips (1-2), giving Cincinnati its second straight walkoff win and a three-game winning streak. Benson became the third Cincinnati player with a walk-off for his first home run of his career, after Jay Bruce on May 31, 2008 and Drew Stubbs on August 20, 2009.
“Honestly, it’s a dream come true,” Benson said. “I tried to prepare myself. I knew my time to bat was near. I knew it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.