Elly De La Cruz unloads mammoth 458-foot blast for 1st career HR (0:45)
Top Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz continues to impress as his first career home run leaves the bat at 114.8 mph and nearly exits the entire ballpark. (0:45)
ESPN News Services
Jun 7, 2023, 08:33 PM ET
Elly De La Cruz smacked a 458-foot drive for his first major league homer, and Will Benson hit a game-ending home run in the ninth inning that lifted the Cincinnati Reds over Los Angeles 8-6 on Wednesday night and extended the Dodgers‘ losing streak to a season-high four.
De La Cruz, a 21-year-old switch-hitter who was named baseball’s top prospect by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel in his updated rankings last month, hit an 0-1 fastball from Noah Syndergaard in the first inning. The ball left his bat at 114.8 mph and landed in the last rows of the right-field stands at Great American Ball Park for a two-run homer that tied the score at 2.
A day after making his big league debut, De La Cruz had the second-hardest-hit home run by a player 21 or younger since Statcast started tracking in 2015, behind only the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 115.9 mph on Aug. 21, 2020.
“The first thing I thought was, that ball’s gone,” De La Cruz said through a translator. “I didn’t know where it landed. I was looking at my teammates. They told me it almost left the building.”
De La Cruz played shortstop a day after manning third and finished 2-for-4 at the plate. He tripled on a curveball in the third, a drive that went to the wall in right-center on four hops. He reached third in 10.83 seconds, the fastest time in the major leagues this season, according to Statcast. It was the second fastest since the start of the 2020 season, behind 10.75 seconds for the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Corbin Carroll last Oct. 3.
T.J. Hopkins reached on an infield single in the ninth, and Benson homered off Evan Phillips (1-2), giving Cincinnati its second straight walk-off win and a three-game winning streak. Benson became the third Cincinnati player with a walk-off for his first career home run, after Jay Bruce on May 31, 2008, and Drew Stubbs on Aug. 20, 2009.
“Honestly, you can’t dream it,” Benson said. “I was trying to get ready. I knew my time was coming up to bat. I knew it. I got it clean. You play with raw emotion, play with everything you have. When you succeed, it overcomes you.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.