Home runs by Teoscar Hernández and Max Muncy lift Dodgers past Cardinals

The home run might be on its way out. The commissioner’s office might prefer more stolen bases, more doubles, more racing around the bases and less trotting.

Tell it to another team. The Dodgers lead the major leagues in home runs one week into this season, and they hit two more in one inning Sunday, transforming what would have been a sloppy and dispiriting defeat into a dramatic 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers were five outs from defeat, five outs from a .500 start to perhaps the most anticipated season in team history, when Teoscar Hernández and Max Muncy homered in the eighth inning.

Hernández is tied for second in the majors with three home runs, one behind teammate Mookie Betts. His solo home run cut the Dodgers’ deficit to 4-3. After Chris Taylor walked — for the third consecutive plate appearance — Muncy hit his first home run of the season to deliver the tying and winning runs.

Muncy turned, looked toward the Dodgers dugout in celebration, then turned back around to complete his trot.

Reliever Nabil Crismatt, in his Dodgers debut, earned his first major league victory in two years. Daniel Hudson, who suffered season-ending knee injuries in each of his last two years, recorded the save for the Dodgers.

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St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Brendan Donovan, left, and shortstop Masyn Winn can’t catch a blooper hit by Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes in the fifth inning Sunday.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The sloppiness the Dodgers exhibited Sunday could be cause for concern.

In the fifth inning, pitcher Gavin Stone was unable to field an dribbler past the mound, and the ball went for an infield single, and first baseman Freddie Freeman was unable to catch a pop foul that landed near his feet.

In the sixth inning, with the Cardinals already up 2-0, Stone walked the leadoff batter, and the Dodgers removed him after 85 pitches. Reliever Alex Vesia walked two more, then hit a batter to force home a run. Catcher Austin Barnes committed interference on what would have been a third strike to Paul Goldschmidt, and the Cardinals scored another run for a 4-0 lead.

Ohtani looking for first home run

  • Shohei Ohtani, who hit one home run every 11.3 at-bats for the Angels last season, has no home runs in his first 26 at-bats for the Dodgers.
  • Barnes, who went hitless in his first 18 at-bats last season, singled in his first at-bat this season.
  • In his first minor league rehabilitation start, Walker Buehler gave up four runs in 3⅓ innings for triple-A Oklahoma City, striking out two and averaging 94 mph over 54 pitches. Manager Dave Roberts said Buehler probably would need to reach 90 pitches — and make three more minor league starts — before the Dodgers consider activating him. Buehler last pitched for the Dodgers on June 10, 2021; he had his second Tommy John surgery that August.
  • The Dodgers optioned reliever Kyle Hurt, who threw 34 pitches on Saturday. They promoted Crismatt, who has pitched for the Cardinals, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks over the last three years.

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