Hernandez shines, coming a homer short of the cycle

Hernandez shines, coming a homer short of the cycle

PHOENIX -- To give Joc Pederson a day off, manager Don Mattingly started in his place the guy in the banana suit.

Rookie Kiké Hernandez doesn't actually wear the banana suit while he's playing, although he's probably considered it. The inventor of the rally banana has embraced the role of clubhouse clown to keep things loose, but he showed Wednesday night he's got game too.

Hernandez tripled, doubled, singled, scored twice and drove in a run as the Dodgers hung on for a 4-3 win over the D-Backs. He also struck out and fouled out, missing a cycle by a home run, then said he couldn't remember ever having a cycle at any level.

Mattingly called Hernandez "definitely silly, but it doesn't bother me at all. I like guys having fun. On the field, he's ready. He's a good teammate."

He's the antithesis of low-key winning pitcher Brett Anderson.

"He has what I lack," said Anderson. "He's got his antics, the bananas, the whole deal, but it's fun. He's a sparkplug. It's fun to have different personalities. If there weren't any differences, it would get stagnant."

Hernandez earned praise from Mattingly for his versatility. He has started in all three outfield positions, as well as shortstop and second base this season. He said he's learned from teammates Justin Turner, Alex Guerrero and Scott Van Slyke how to be successful coming off the bench.

Hernandez was vying to become the ninth Dodger (10th time) to hit for the cycle and the first since Orlando Hudson on April 18, 2009 against the Giants.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.