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Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
CHAVEZ RAVINE (CBSLA.com) — Yasiel Puig introduced himself to the Giants in a way the Dodgers’ longtime rival won’t soon forget.
Puig went 3-for-4 with a homer and two singles, including the winning RBI, to record his 12th career multi-hit game as the Dodgers beat the Giants 3-1 on Monday night.
Puig’s 58 total bases through 20 career games is a Dodgers record — four more than Del Bissonette for the 1928 Brooklyn Robins — and his 34 hits through 20 games is one more than Gibby Brack with the 1937 Brooklyn Dodgers, according to Eric Stephen.
Puig also became the first ball player in major league history to record 34 hits with seven home runs in the first 20 games of his major league career.
With high preseason expectations already far from mind, the Dodgers were going for what is considered a milestone by the uninspiring 2013 season’s standards — their second three-game win streak of the year.
While the Dodgers season, approaching July, has been closely identified with disappointment, the recent play of the rival Giants hasn’t been much better.
The Giants, who had taken five out of six from the Dodgers this season, came into Dodger Stadium having lost six of their last nine, and fell to .500 for the first time in nearly three months following Monday night’s loss.
Puig, playing his first game against the rival Giants, opened the door for the Dodgers in the first inning by hitting a one-out, solo home run, his seventh homer of the year, into the stands in right field.
Bumgarner had been trying to get Puig to swing at a low-and-away breaking ball — a pitch that has gotten the rookie phenom to swing and miss in the past. Instead, Puig connected on a ball left over the plate, and the Dodgers led 1-0.
The home run resulted in Puig batting .688 (11-for-16) in his first-inning at-bats this season with two homers.
Andres Torres, who has hit .333 and slugged .533 against the Dodgers this year, responded for the Giants in the top of the second inning, when he hit a liner off Ryu down the left field line. The ball rolled all the way to the corner, and left fielder Jerry Hairston Jr. seemed to have trouble picking up the ball.
Joaquin Arias, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, scored all the way from first, but seemed to pull up limp after scoring to tie the ball game at one.
Ryu seemed to struggle on the mound through the first three innings, including a bases-loaded situation in the third which he later got out of. Ryu had walked three batters before recording his first strikeout of the game against Bumgarner in the fourth. He threw 63 pitches through his first four innings.
The Giants again jumped on Ryu in the fifth, loading the bases with one out when Pablo Sandoval, who had been activated from the disabled list earlier on Monday, singled up the middle to move the runners. On the play, Buster Posey attempted to round third, but his foot slipped on the outside corner of the bag, and he hit the ground. Ethier fired to third, but Posey was able to get back to the bag safely.
Yet again, however, the South Korean hurler was able to get out of the jam.
After Ryu was unable to get a call on a 0-2 pitch on the outside corner of the plate against Brandon Crawford, who took over at shortstop for Arias, Crawford grounded a chopper back to the mound. Ryu got a glove on it and threw to A.J. Ellis at home for the first out, and Ellis threw to first to finish off the 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
Nick Punto, who entered the game to pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot, gave the Dodgers a golden opportunity in the eight inning when he led off with a double down the right field line that reached the corner.
Punto was moved over to third when Mark Ellis laid down a textbook bunt towards third, which Bumgarner fielded before overthrowing to first baseman Brandon Belt. The throw was high, pulling Belt off the bag, and Ellis was called safe, as the Dodgers put runners on the corners with the go-ahead run at third with no outs.
Yasiel Puig came through again for the Dodgers when he grounded a fastball through the hole into left to score Punto, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
The Dodgers scored an insurance run when Hanley Ramirez lined a ball off the glove of Crawford at shortstop. Ramirez was thrown out at first, but Ellis was able to score on the play, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
In the ninth, after striking out Belt, Kenley Jansen struck out Tony Abreu, but the strikeout occurred on a wild pitch. The ball got past Ellis, who couldn’t get to it fast enough to throw to first, and the Giants put a runner on first with one out.
Ultimately, Blanco flew out to center, and Jansen struck out Marco Scutaro to finish it, earning his fifth save. Jansen has struck out 19 out of 40 batters faced in the month of June.
The Dodgers will go for their first series win of the season over the Giants tomorrow night on KCAL9.