Pederson's pop, defense lead Dodgers to win
Center fielder robs Giants to start double play, drives in two runs
LOS ANGELES -- Joc Pederson had the biggest moments Monday night at Dodger Stadium as the Dodgers finally won in their fourth try against the Giants this season, 8-3.
The Dodgers' 23-year-old center fielder drove in two runs, with a home run and a double, scored twice and took an extra-base hit and RBI away from Angel Pagan with a spectacular catch in the first inning that turned into a double play.
"He showed some pop," said Giants second baseman Joe Panik, who played against Pederson, the Dodgers' No. 8 hitter, in the Minor Leagues. "We all know it's in there."
Pederson led off the sixth inning by homering to right field off reliever George Kontos on a 1-2 slider for a 5-3 Dodgers lead. It was Pederson's third homer this season, and Statcast measured the drive's exit velocity at 102 mph, its launch angle at 22 degrees and its distance 399 feet.
"He made a great play in the first," manager Don Mattingly said. "Then the double, the home run, even the walk late [in the eighth inning]. It's tough for a young player to take a 3-2 pitch sometimes. That walk gets J.T. [Justin Turner] up there at a good time."
Turner gave the Dodgers breathing room in the eighth by following Pederson's walk with a pinch-hit, three-run home run to center field off Yusmeiro Petit for a five-run advantage.
"I'm still missing some pitches," said Pederson, who went 2-for-3 and raised his average to .296. "It's a long process ... build it, brick by brick."
When Pederson robbed Pagan, he turned what looked like a sure hit into two outs after a running, over-the-shoulder catch in left-center. Nori Aoki, running from first base after a leadoff single, had rounded second base and had to retag to go back. He was easily beaten by the relay from Pederson to shortstop Jimmy Rollins to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
"He hit it well," Pederson said. "Earlier today, we worked on angles with [coach] Lorenzo Bundy. I kept my eye on the ball, and it worked out well."
Pederson followed his great catch by lining an RBI double to right field off Tim Lincecum in the Dodgers' four-run third inning.
"We just think he is going to keep improving," Mattingly said. "He's got a really good eye, and it's going to get better with experience."