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Pederson giveth (twice) and taketh away

Dodgers center fielder hits two homers and makes highlight-reel catch
MLB.com @kengurnick

MILWAUKEE -- Joc Pederson was playing video games with teammate Scott Van Slyke Tuesday night when he got a congratulatory text from Bryce Harper on the hot start.

"Then I turn on the TV today and see he hit three home runs," Pederson said after hitting two himself Wednesday night for a season total of nine. "I guess you could say I was just trying to keep up."

Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Joc Pederson was playing video games with teammate Scott Van Slyke Tuesday night when he got a congratulatory text from Bryce Harper on the hot start.

"Then I turn on the TV today and see he hit three home runs," Pederson said after hitting two himself Wednesday night for a season total of nine. "I guess you could say I was just trying to keep up."

Full Game Coverage

Maybe the Dodgers will run Pederson through their starting pitcher tryout camp, because he's done just about everything else in his rookie season, including his first multi-homer game while the Dodgers fell to the Brewers, 6-3.

Video: LAD@MIL: Pederson goes yard twice vs. the Brewers

Pederson has had one spectacularly unusual start to the month of May. His only hits have been home runs, five this month, and his last seven hits overall have been homers, becoming the first Dodger to have seven consecutive home run hits since Hee-Seop Choi in 2005.

In the three games against the Brewers, Pederson has 14 plate appearances that have included three home runs, four walks and five strikeouts. In his last nine games, while slugging seven homers, he has struck out 13 times and his average has slipped from .296 to .272. Through 28 games, he is on pace for 52 homers, but also 202 strikeouts.

The two homers in this game were to dead center, which his manager, a former batting champ, likes to see.

"That means the bat is in the zone longer and more and more the strikeouts will come down and the hits will go all over," Don Mattingly said. "Lately he's either a walk or a home run.

"This is what we thought we'd get, but we didn't know the power would come this early," said Mattingly. "Joc's a baseball player. He plays hard."

Pederson also made a spectacular catch, robbing opposing pitcher Wily Peralta of extra bases by running down his long fly to center and making a catch just before running into the wall.

Peralta drove a pitch from Sergio Santos to the deepest part of center field. Pederson got a good jump and outran the ball to the warning track, gloving the drive just before bracing himself as he hit the wall, tumbling to the ground.

"He hit the wall and got up," noted Mattingly. "It was nice to see him get up. I thought we'd have to go out there."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers, Joc Pederson