LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It was the bottom of the eighth, and the Dodgers were at bat in Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals Thursday night.
Nationals pitcher Hunter Strickland was on the mound with one out when rookie Gavin Lux came up to bat for the first time in his first postseason game. With two balls and one strike, the 21-year-old from Kenosha, Wisconsin hit the game’s first home run — putting the Dodgers up 5-0, and making history in the process.
“I had a good feeling off the bat,” Lux said after the game. “I think I put my hand up right away, kind of like a little fist bump, so I think off the bat I had a good idea.”
Lux, who made his major league debut a mere month ago when the Dodgers played the Colorado Rockies Sept. 2, is now the team’s youngest player to homer in postseason history, according to Major League Baseball.
“It’s a great moment for Gavin, it’s a great moment for his family, and I wanted him in there to take the at-bat to keep his defense in there for that ninth inning,” Dave Roberts, Dodgers manager, said after the game. “For Gavin to take that first postseason at-bat and hit a homer, I can’t say I expected it, but I’m very happy for him.”
But the Dodgers weren’t done.
Two batters later, Slugger Joc Pederson — known for his powerful performances at bat and participation in Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby — came up to bat. With one ball and two strikes, the 27-year-old hit a solo shot high off the foul pole to make it 6-0 Dodgers. The home run was the hardest-hit Dodgers home run of the year clocking in with an exit velocity of 114.9 mph.
“We’ve still gotta take it one game at a time,” Pederson said after the game. “You can be as confident as you want, but if you lose Game 2, it doesn’t matter. You gotta take care of business and win each pitch like we’ve been doing.”
Pederson, who made his major league debut with the Dodgers back in September of 2014, hit his 100th career home run this season during a May game against the San Diego Padres. In the 2019 regular season, Pederson hit 36 home runs.
Game 2 is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. Friday at Dodger Stadium. The best-of-five series shifts to Washington for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Monday, if necessary.