Let the Manny Machado era commence.
Machado reached base four times, Kiké Hernandez hit a three-run homer, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-4, in the debut of the team's newest All-Star acquisition on Friday night at Miller Park.
The second half of the season started similarly to how the first half ended: with a Dodgers victory, but this game was anything but ordinary.
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Admittedly, there was an extra buzz in the air in Milwaukee as the team that leads the National League in home runs, added a middle-of–the-order bat that has more homers than anyone else on the roster.
"It was awesome," Machado said of his first game as a Dodger. "It was amazing to go out there and put on that uniform. Come out with a W [win] today on the first day. I'm happy to be here with these guys. It's a great team."
In fact, according to Stats, LLC. Machado is the first shortstop in 30 years to lead his team in home runs, RBI and walks at the All-Star Break, as he did with the Baltimore Orioles before the Dodgers traded for him in a six-player deal on Wednesday.
In his first at-bat in Dodger blue, Machado hit a single to right field, and only added on from there, finishing the game 2-for-3 with two walks.
"It's like everyone's dream," Machado said of his first at-bat as a Dodger. "Putting on a Dodger uniform, and your first time going out there you get a nice little knock there, it makes it a lot easier going forward."
Chris Taylor opened the third inning with a double to center field, and after a walk to Machado and a hit by pitch to Muncy, Taylor scored the first run of the game on a passed ball by Manny Pina.
Milwaukee tied the game on a two-out double down the right field line by Christian Yelich in the bottom of the fifth, but Miley was thrown out at the plate on the relay from Matt Kemp to Logan Forsythe to Austin Barnes, and the game stayed deadlocked at 1-1.
The Dodgers recaptured the lead in the top of the seventh as Yasmani Grandal led off the inning with a single to center field.
Six pitches later, Chase Utley hit a pinch-hit double to right-center, but Grandal was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.
Taylor finally gave the Dodgers the lead with an RBI single that scored Utley.
Muncy continued his breakout season with an RBI double that scored Taylor and L.A. led 3-1.
Milwaukee starter, Wade Miley, did not factor in the decision, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.
Rich Hill (3-4) earned the win, surrendering just one run on five hits with four walks and nine strikeouts in six strong innings.
"I love pitching here, the mound is great and it's a great backdrop," said Hill of his start. "It went well."
During the game, Dodgers' general manager Farhan Zaidi told SportsNetLA broadcasters Joe Davis and Nomar Garciaparra, that the team was still interested in acquiring a bullpen piece and that "relief help" was at the top of their mind.
We found out why in the bottom of the eighth as reliever Daniel Hudson surrendered a solo home run to Jesus Aguilar—the only batter he faced—to cut the lead to 3-2.
The blast was Aguilar's NL-leading 25th of the season, and Hudson's fourth earned run in his last three appearances.
Thankfully, Kiké Hernandez broke the game open with a three-run blast in the top of the ninth for his 17th longball of the season.
"They've been throwing me inside all night. Everything looked really hard tonight. It took some time to get back into the rhythm of things," Hernandez told SportsNetLA of his game. "That last AB I was just trying to slow things down somehow. First pitch fastball in, second pitch fastball in. Thankfully he threw a slider."
After the first two runners reached base for the Brewers in the bottom of the ninth, Kenley Jansen entered the game and allowed a two-run triple to Yelich, before striking out Aguilar for his NL-leading 28th save of the season.
"I went to my strength," said Jansen of the stikeout against the league leader in home runs to end the game. "Strength to strength, and this time I won."
Clayton Kershaw makes his first start of the second half of the season as he faces RHP Chase Anderson at 4:10PM PST.
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