DENVER -- Until Joc Pederson swung at a Scott Oberg pitch in the eighth inning and sent it soaring into the left-field stands, he had looked like a regular old leadoff hitter for most of the night. Pederson had gotten on base three times in three different ways and scored two runs, driven in by the hitters in the middle of the order.
Of course, Pederson is anything but a regular leadoff hitter. That home run gave him five straight games going deep, tying the Dodgers franchise record that had been accomplished by only three hitters: Roy Campanella, Shawn Green and Matt Kemp -- and none of them when they were rookies.
Since he took over as the Dodgers' leadoff hitter a little over a month ago, Pederson's on-base percentage has dipped, but his slugging has gone through the roof. He has mashed 14 of his 17 home runs since he started batting first.
Wednesday's blast wasn't as impressive as the previous two. It cleared the 390-foot sign. He is the first major league rookie to homer in five straight games since Caleb Joseph last season for the Baltimore Orioles.
Pederson's home run total is the highest ever for a Dodgers rookie through 53 games. The team had five straight rookies of the year, culminating with Todd Hollandsworth in 1996, but hasn't had one since.