LOS ANGELES – Kenta Maeda earned his third win of the season and 40th of his MLB career, tossing 6⅔ effective innings to help guide the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
Maeda (3-1) limited the damage to a run and four hits, and three pitchers held the Reds hitless the rest of the way at Dodger Stadium.
“I’m glad I fulfilled my responsibility,” said Maeda, who is in his fourth season with the Dodgers.
“My pitch count got too high but I made adjustments and I pitched better in the latter half. I’m glad I got off to a winning start (to my 32nd year),” he said.
Joey Votto drove in the sole run for Cincinnati, when he doubled off Maeda in the third inning after the home team jumped out to an early 4-0 lead to give the Japanese right-hander a comfortable cushion.
Maeda struck out five and walked three. In the fourth, he escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Tyler Mahle.
“It looks like he has made some improvements to his pitching style,” Votto said. “His changeup is improved. He seems to have a much better feel for avoiding damage. He kept us off balance and he seemed to be one step ahead.”
At the plate, 22-year-old Dodgers outfielder Alex Vergudo tied his career high with three RBIs. Verdugo is batting .370 with two home runs and 10 RBIs, having hit safely in six of seven starts this season. He’s getting opportunities because of injuries, although he’d prefer they came another way.
“Driving in runs at this level is a big thing,” he said. “For me, it’s just fill in wherever I go. Control what I can control.”
Verdugo is staying patient while waiting his turn at becoming a regular.
“He’s just showing glimpses of what he’s capable of,” said teammate Joc Pederson, who hit a two-run homer for the second straight game. “Not getting consistent at-bats throws a wrench into it, but he’s making the most of it.”
Verdugo had a two-run double in the seventh inning. He reached on an infield single that scored Corey Seager in the first.
“He brings a lot of energy and skill,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s fun to see that youthful enthusiasm and guys rally around him.”
Pederson’s eighth homer of the season just made it over the wall in right field with two outs in the second, similar to the location of his first career walk-off shot in the bottom of the ninth that rallied the Dodgers to a 4-3 win Monday.
The Dodgers lead the National League with 37 homers, tying the 1956 Cincinnati Reds for fourth-most through 19 games. Los Angeles has gone deep in 17 of 19 games.
The team has homered at Dodger Stadium in 31 consecutive games, one shy of tying the major league-record streak for home games set by the 1999 Colorado Rockies.
Diamondbacks 9, Braves 6
In Atlanta, Christian Walker homered leading off the ninth inning and Arizona rallied against the shaky Braves bullpen.
Arizona squandered a massive, knee-buckling homer by Ronald Acuña Jr. and another strong start by Max Fried in the loss.
Yoshihisa Hirano (1-1) came on with the game tied 6-6 in a two-out, one-on situation in the seventh inning, and got a strikeout to end the inning. He also worked the eighth and earned the win in relief.
Yankees 8, Red Sox 0
In New York, James Paxton struck out 12 in his first stab at baseball’s biggest rivalry and New York three-hit Boston in the season’s first game between the struggling AL East foes.
Paxton (2-2) pitched two-hit ball for eight innings, walking one and going to just two three-ball counts in a game that took only 2 hours, 23 minutes.
Mike Tauchman hit his first major league homer and drove in four runs, and Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres also went deep for the Yankees. New York had dropped five of six and is 7-9 a year after winning 100 games.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale found his fastball but not better results
Sale (0-4) reached 97.5 mph (156.9 kph) — a positive sign for Boston after his velocity sagged this spring — but still got hit around, allowing four runs and seven hits over five innings.
Rays 4, Orioles 2
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Tyler Glasnow allowed two runs over seven innings in winning his fourth consecutive start to begin the season and Avisail Garcia drove in three runs as Tampa Bay beat Baltimore for its seventh win in eight games.
In Other Games
Phillies 14, Mets 3
Cubs 4, Marlins 0
Giants 7, Nationals 3
Brewers 8, Cardinals 4
Rockies 8, Padres 2
Pirates 5, Tigers 3 (10)
Blue Jays 6, Twins 5
Rangers 5, Angels 0
White Sox 5, Royals 1
Indians 4, Mariners 2
Astros 9, Athletics 1
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5