The word of the day is "Red."
The Red Dream returned, Rich Hill got the win, and Kenta Maeda earned his first career MLB save as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 7-2, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
The game marked the return of third baseman Justin Turner who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list before the game.
"He's got a great head and a good pulse," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Turner's presence in the lineup. "He's the glue to our offense and our clubhouse."
Turner missed the last 19 games with a hamstring injury, but immediately made his presence felt as the man known as the "Red Dream," homered in his first at-bat in three weeks.
"It took me almost 100 at-bats to hit one home run, and then I miss three weeks and hit one in my first at-bat back," said Turner of his first inning home run. "I give all the credit to Bellinger, I was using his bat. That bat must have homers in it."
After Reds' starting pitcher, Amir Garrett, was figuratively hit by Turner's home run, he was hit in the literal sense an inning later as he tried to field a comebacker with his left hand off the bat of Dodgers' catcher Austin Barnes.
"It hit me pretty hard," said Garrett after the game. "I didn't really have time to react and I was in an awkward position. Everything came back negative, so I'm good to go."
Garrett remained down on the mound after the play for several minutes and eventually had to leave the game with a contusion on his left hand. Thankfully, x-rays on the hand were negative.
"In the moment, I thought it was broken," continued Garrett. "It hurt, it was numb, I couldn't feel anything, but after 30-45 minutes it calmed down. It's fine. It's just bruised now."
Former Dodger Jose Peraza knocked in the first run of the game for the Reds with an RBI single in the top of the second inning and Joey Votto added a solo shot in the top of the ninth for his 17th long ball of the season.
Christmas came early for L.A. as Cincinnati gifted the Dodgers a couple runs in the third inning.
Austin Barnes hit a chopper to third base with the bases loaded, but pitcher Jake Buchanan's throw went wide of first and down the right field line allowing two runs to score.
Barnes recorded a season-high two hits in the game, and is batting .381 with three runs, two doubles, one homer and three RBI in his last 10 games.
Franklin Gutierrez hammered a two-run single to left field in the bottom of the fourth and the Boys in Blue added a home run in the bottom of the eighth for the five-run victory.
Rich Hill (3-2) earned the win, allowing just one run on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts on the night.
"To battle through everything and grind, I feel very good," said Hill of his consistency at this point in the season. "It's the consistency thats important."
Hill has held batters to just a .103 batting average with runners in scoring position this season, the second lowest in the Majors behind the Rangers' Yu Darvish (0.98).
Kenta Maeda recorded his first career save in his first career relief appearance after allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts in four innings out of the bullpen.
"I've been a starter all my life so it was disappointing when I found out I was going to the bullpen," said Maeda through a translator. "Hopefully, with good results I'll be back in the starting rotation."
Maeda joined Hyun-Jin Ryu, who piggybacked a Maeda start two weeks ago, as the only two Dodger pitchers with four-inning saves this season.
"I was aware I was probably going to go four innings, so I put more effort into it from my first inning," said Maeda of his recent struggles as a starter and how he pitched better out of the pen. "As a starter you think about going deeper into the game. Maybe I was hesistant pitching in the first inning, but as a mid reliever you don't really think about that too much and maybe that's something I can take away from today."
The last time the Dodgers had two four-inning saves in a single season was in 2000, when Alan Mills and Matt Herges each collected four out saves for Los Angeles.
RHP Asher Wojciechowski takes the mound opposite LHP Alex Wood who is expected to be activated off the 10-day disabled list for the Dodgers before the game. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.