Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Late call-up Matt Magill was hoping to repeat his previous success against the Atlanta Braves, in which he gave up one run and struck out a career-high eight batters over five innings at Turner Field, as the Dodgers looked to take the series.
Instead, Magill gave up seven runs with six walks through 3.2 innings and the Dodgers were unable to stop the bat of Dan Uggla in a series-splitting 8-1 loss on Sunday afternoon.
The 23-year-old last pitched a spot start a week ago at Colorado, taking the loss in a 7-2 Dodger defeat.
The Simi Valley native Magill started the game by striking out Andrelton Simmons, but seemed to lose his command almost immediately after. Magill walked both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, and then a near wild-pitch prompted pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to come out to the mound for a visit, just one out into the ball game.
Magill got out of the jam when he got Evan Gattis to ground to second to end the inning with no runs scored.
Meanwhile, rookie phenom Yasiel Puig continued to provide a spark for the club.
Puig, who had posted his fourth multi-hit game on Saturday night in a 2-1 loss at Dodger Stadium, led off the bottom of the first with a single to left center.
He would be far from done.
He was moved over by a beautiful bunt by Nick Punto that pulled Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman off the bag and gave Punto a bunt single.
Adrian Gonzalez drew a walk, and the bases were jammed with no outs.
However, the top of the order could only do so much.
Scott Van Slyke grounded to third baseman Ramiro Pena, who was able to throw to home plate to record Puig out before he was able to score.
Luis Cruz struck out swinging, and the familiar anticipation of disappointment at Dodger Stadium began to emerge.
It was up to Skip Schumaker, who came in today riding a career-best, and tied for the 2013 Dodger best with Matt Kemp, 14-game hitting streak.
With two strikes on him, Skip swung the bat, hammered the ball into the dirt just in front of the plate, and the ball took a slow chop towards third base. The runners all advanced, and Mike Minor had nowhere to throw.
With that swing, the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead, Skip Schumaker extended his career-best streak to 15 games, and the Dodgers had their longest hitting streak of 2013.
In the second inning, catcher Tim Federowicz kept the spark going on defense when he chased down a high pop-up all the way to the Atlanta dugout. He reached over the fence and deep into the dugout and emerged with the ball to end the inning.
Magill found himself in more trouble in the third inning.
Heyward walked and Justin Upton reached when former Gold Glove winner Adrian Gonzalez was unable to field a bunt. With runners on first and second, Freddie Freeman hit a line drive to right.
Yasiel Puig prevented initial damage when he fired a cannon shot — which is seemingly becoming one of his many trademarks — to third base, preventing Heyward from scoring.
Puig, who has four homers and ten RBIs in his debut week, may get a look when it comes to the National League Player of the Week.
The last Dodger rookie who took Player of the Week honors was Andre Ethier in 2006, who will be playing just yards away from Puig, in center field.
Heyward would score on the next batter when Evan Gattis sacrificed to left, and the game was tied at one run.
Dan Uggla busted the game open when he connected on a 2-1 pitch from Magill, and sent a 3-run shot into the Dodger bullpen, his 12th of the year, and the Braves took a 4-1 lead.
Atlanta’s onslaught of Magill did not end there.
In the fourth, Magill walked Mike Minor, gave up a single to Heyward, and walked Justin Upton to load the bases. Freddie Freeman then came up and swung on his first pitch to put a fly ball just out of the reach of Schumaker in left center. It went off the wall and all three runs scored on Freeman’s double. The Braves extended their lead to 7-1.
Magill slowly walked off the field, having given up more walks (28) than he has career innings pitched (27.2).
Uggla connected again in the fifth to record his second multi-homer game of the season.
After leading off with a double in the bottom of the seventh, Yasiel Puig, who went 3-for-5, became the first Dodger since at least 1916 to record five multi-hit games in his first seven career major league games.
In the end, the Dodgers were unable to recover from the devastation that was the third and fourth innings, and would have to settle with a split 2-2 series.
For the first time in his major league career, Puig saw time in center field after switching from right field in the eight inning.
If nothing else, it gives management the opportunity to take a look at Puig’s abilities in center, compared to the corner outfield spots. The more positions Puig can cover deep, the more productive outfield the Dodgers can put in the field.
In addition, the Dodgers’ young bucks seem have been the ones stepping up in the power area, where veterans have been relatively silent.
The last seven home runs for the Dodgers have been hit by rookies: Puig (4), Scott Van Slyke (2), and Tim Federowicz (1). That makes up the longest run by Dodgers rookies since 2007.
The Dodgers’ injuries, which Don Mattingly described before the game as “completely different” from any other season, has prompted him to put 58 different starting lineups on the field this season.
Mattingly described the situation, saying that he has to “constantly move pieces around.”
When you take these injuries into account, it is not difficult to see why Mattingly has had to use 58 different starting lineups this season.
The Dodgers will conclude their season-long 10-game homestand with a three game series starting Monday against the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks.