MLB

Kiké Hernandez Blasts Two Home Runs as Dodgers Beat Bumgarner on Jackie Robinson Day

Kiké Hernandez hit two home runs and knocked in four runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the rival San Francisco Giants 7-4 in the first game of the three-game weekend series.

LOS ANGELES – It may have been Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium on Friday, but it was Kiké Hernandez who stole the show.

Hernandez hit two home runs and knocked in four runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the rival San Francisco Giants 7-4 to takeover sole possession of first place in the National League West division. 

One day after hitting the game-winning double in the Dodgers 5-2 victory over the Diamondbacks, the Puerto-Rican utility player flexed his power muscles, hitting not one, but two, towering blasts into the pavilion seats off World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner.

"I'm just not trying to do too much," he said. "I've gotten good pitches to hit and have happened to put good swings on them."

Hernandez hit the first pitch he saw off the left-hander into the seats in centerfield and followed that up with another homer, this time even further into left-center in the bottom of the third inning. It was Hernandez's first leadoff home run and multi-homer game of his career.

"First pitch of the game I figured he'd throw a fastball," Hernandez continued. "My dad and my sisters are in town, and are about to leave, so I'm glad I could do this with them watching."

For an encore, Hernandez hit a two-run double off Bumgarner in an inning later, finishing 3-for-5 with four RBIs on the night.

Charlie Culberson made a spot-start at shortstop, giving left-handed batter, Corey Seager, a day off against Bumgarner. Culberson continued his recent string of success against San Francisco with a three RBIs on Friday.

Culberson has started two games for the Dodgers -- both against Bumgarner -- and recorded multiple hits in each game. 

Hernandez and Culberson provided the only offense Los Angeles would need against their rivals on Jackie Robinson Day – a historic day in which everyone in baseball wears the No. 42 – and Clayton Kershaw did the rest in his second matchup with Bumgarner this season.

"It feels good," said Kershaw of beating the Giants. "They made some defensive mistakes that we were able to capitalize on, thankfully, I had a little bit of a lead to work with, but overall it feels good to get the first game of the series."

Kershaw improved to 2-0 on the season, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in seven innings. Both earned runs came on uncharacteristic wild pitches, the first time the left-hander has done that since June 15, 2012. 

"I made two bad pitches," Kershaw said of the runs he allowed. "Some of my pitches were okay, but overall I still have a lot to get better at."

Bumgarner had his worst outing against the Dodgers in his career, allowing a career-high seven runs to Los Angeles in his first loss of the season. 

The game marked the ninth meeting of the mounds between three-time World Series Champion Bumgarner and three-time Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw. According to Elias Sports, it ties with Doug Rau and Jim Barr as the longest pitching duel in the Dodgers-Giants rivalry.

Kershaw improves to 3-4 with a 2.18 ERA in the head-to-head rivalry, whereas Bumgarner drops to 4-3 with a 2.87 ERA in their nine matchups. 

Players of the Game: 

Kiké Hernandez: 3-for-5, two homers, a double, and four RBI.
Charlie Culberson: 2-for-4, three RBI and a run scored.

Three Takeaways:

1. Kerhsaw vs. Bumgarner Part Deux: It was the second meeting of the 2016 season between Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, and the second series between the rivals. Both pitchers received a no-decision in the first meeting (a 3-2 Dodgers victory), and it's their ninth meeting overall.

2. Hernandez Heating Up: Kiké Hernandez did all the damage for the Dodgers for the second consecutive game, going 3-for-5 with two homers, a double and four RBIs on Friday. In his last two games, Hernandez is 5-for-8 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs. Entering the game, Hernandez was batting .379 against left-handed pitchers, tops in baseball.

3. Thank You, Jackie: It was another historic and successful April 15th at Dodger Stadium on Friday, otherwise known as "Jackie Robinson Day." Everyone on the field and around the league wore the number 42 on their backs in honor of the first black player to integrate the game of baseball in 1947. The Dodgers honored Robinson with a pregame celebration that included his wife, Rachel, his daughter, Sharon, teammate, Don Newcombe, Dodgers owner, Magic Johnson, and baseball's first black manager, Frank Robinson.

Up Next:

Giants (6-5): Johnny Cueto takes the mound on Saturday to face the rival Dodgers for the second time in a week.

Dodgers: (7-4): Scott Kazmir goes opposite Cueto for the second time, after a high-scoring game in San Francisco last Sunday. First pitch is 6:10 PM PST.

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