Reds@Dodgers

KEVIN REECE/Special to the Valley Press

HE’S BACK — Clayton Kershaw pitches to the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Kershaw picked up the no-decision in his season debut.

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw was Clayton Kershaw.

Unfortunately, Yasiel Puig was Yasiel Puig, too.

The Dodgers’ ace was outstanding in his shoulder soreness-delayed 2019 debut Monday. 

He struck out six and did not walk a batter, scattering five hits over seven innings.

Puig scattered one over the center field wall with Eugenio Suarez on base in the first inning the first time he faced his former teammate of the past six years.

Just as he did as a Dodger, Puig, who received a warm ovation as he stepped to the plate, had Dodger fans applauding one minute and pulling their hair out the next.

The Dodgers got the last pull, when Joc Pederson pulled Reds closer Raisel Iglesias’ pitch into the right field pavilion with pinch runner Chris Taylor aboard for a walk-off 4-3 victory writing a perfect ending to Jackie Robinson Night for the season’s third Dodger Stadium sellout of 52,974.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play. Good things happen when you do that,” Pederson said after his first career walk-off home run. “My first one feels great. I know I tried many other times without success. This feels good.”

The Dodgers extended their streak to 30 straight games with a homer, the second-longest in MLB history. the 1999 Colorado Rockies homered in 32 straight games.

Former Dodger Matt Kemp rolled an RBI single through the right side off Kenley Jansen to cash in Curt Casall’s leadoff double in the top of the inning.

Before that, Puig just missed against Jansen, getting under a fastball to center field that advanced Casall to third base.

“Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet,” Puig said. “But now me and my teammates want to beat him.”

Those teammates included four other former Dodgers: Kemp, Scott Schebler, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer.

The Dodgers went home worried about the condition of Cody Bellinger.

The man who leads the National League in virtually every offensive category took a 95-mph Luis Castillo fastball off the outside of his right knee in the third inning.

The Dodgers’ outfielder cartwheeled to the ground and lay crumbled for several minutes. He got up and walked to first base, but left the game in favor of Alex Verdugo in the top of the fourth.

Bellinger bounced a ground rules double into the right field corner bleachers after singles by Pederson and Justin Turner in the first inning for his 23rd RBI of the season.

The Dodgers tied the game 2-2 in the fifth inning on a bases-loaded walk to A.J. Pollock, one of five walks issued by Castillo.

Earlier Monday afternoon, Dodgers chairman Mark Walter, club president Stan Kasten and manager Dave Roberts presented Kemp, Farmer and Wood their 2018 National League championship rings outside the visiting clubhouse.

Puig was supposed to be with them. But he showed up an hour late for a scheduled press conference.

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