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By Jon Weisman
Sandwiching a home run in the same inning by Yasmani Grandal, Dodger outfielders Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson each hit fourth-inning blasts that made a bit of history tonight in Arizona.
Pederson’s home run, which almost predictably came after a first-inning walk and third-inning strikeout, was his 20th of the season, making him the first Dodger since Gary Sheffield in 2000 and fourth in Los Angeles Dodger history to have at least 20 homers and 50 walks before the All-Star Break.
The 23-year-old rookie is only the eighth Dodger rooke ever to have 20 homers in an entire season.
Joc Pederson with a 461-foot HR.
Pederson has 7 HR in June with an average distance of 450.3 feet. pic.twitter.com/AHUIlaEm6f
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 30, 2015
As my colleague Cary Osborne informed me last week, Pederson is ahead of the pace needed to become the first rookie in MLB history with at least 40 homers and 100 walks. Al Rosen came closest in 1957 with Cleveland, homering 37 times and walking 100.
Only two National League rookies have hit more homers before July 1 than Pederson: Wally Berger (22, 1930, Boston Braves) and Albert Pujols (21, 2001, St. Louis Cardinals).
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But let’s not forget Ethier. His home run was the 155th of his career, which the Dodgers’ public relations department noted put him in sole possession of ninth place on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ all-time list, ahead of Willie Davis.
It also gave the Dodgers six players with at least 10 homers before the All-Star Break for the first time since 1979, which admittedly was a team that finished the first half of the season in last place. Grandal, who hit his 11th home run, is one of those six players.