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Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
MIAMI (CBSLA.com) — The Dodgers took the field under two unfamiliar circumstances on Tuesday — trying to avoid a three game losing streak and without rookie Yasiel Puig.
Puig had been benched due to an 0-for-11 slump, according to Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly, and wouldn’t see the plate until the game was well in question.
Not to keep his talent chained in the dugout, however, the Wild Horse made a statement late in the game.
Just as Puig’s promotion to the majors made an immediate impact on the Dodgers’ season, the consequence of his first at-bat of the ball game was as swift as it was enormous.
Yasiel Puig entered the game and launched the first pitch he saw over the fence in left center field to give the Dodgers the winning run as Los Angeles took game two of the four-game series 6-4.
Tuesday morning posed the question of whether Mattingly might also sit Andre Ethier after the outfielder took a breaking ball off the kneecap in Monday’s game. However, Ethier ended up starting and grounded a single up the middle to lead off the second inning. Ethier appeared the run the bases well enough, taking third on a successful hit and run by Juan Uribe, until he was thrown out between third and home on a double play by Skip Schumaker.
Similar to Monday, when the Dodgers scored just a single run out of a bases-loaded no-out situation, the Dodgers failed to score after putting runners on the corners to lead off the inning.
Schumaker’s double play tendencies continued in the fourth inning, after Ethier and Uribe both reached on singles. Schumaker grounded to second, and the Dodgers, all of a sudden had gone 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the series.
Doesn’t that bring back bad memories?
Carl Crawford marked the turning point. After a five-pitch walk to Chris Capuano, Crawford hit an infield single to score Ethier. Mark Ellis then hit a grounder up the middle which shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria fielded and tried to fire to first. The throw was well off the mark and sailed past Logan Morrison at first to score two more Dodger runs.
Adrian Gonzalez continued to pour on the pressure with a single to right to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead.
On the mound, Chris Capuano looked to avoid putting the Dodgers in the situation of looking at a potential series loss on Wednesday. Capuano pitched a total of five innings, giving up three earned runs off six hits.
Capuano couldn’t seem to get the calls in the high parts of the zone in the fourth inning, and ended up loading the bases with no outs. Hechavarria singled to left after a Ruggiano grounder scored Stanton from third, and the Marlins made it a one run game.
He was relieved by Brandon League in the sixth. After getting Ed Lucas swinging, League gave up a single followed by a walk.
League retired a single batter out of the four that he faced.
Chris Withrow got the Dodgers out of the inning by getting Donovan Solano to strike out with the bases loaded.
Yasiel Puig then showed the Dodgers, as well as Major League Baseball, just why his case for National League Rookie of the Year is as solid as it is.
Puig went yard with the very first pitch he saw, crushing a ball over the fence in left-center, next to the monstrosity. Puig’s twelfth home run of the year couldn’t have come at a better time, and it gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.
The Wild Horse was already close to second base by the time the ball dropped off and over the fence. It was the second time he hit a go ahead homer in the eight inning or later in his young rookie campaign.
In the ninth, the Marlins infield, which had been shaky all night, was unable to field a grounder by Tim Federowicz cleanly enough to throw him out at first, allowing Hanley Ramirez, who doubled to leadoff the inning (his first hit of the series) to give the Dodgers an insurance run.
Kenley Jansen took the mound and earned his 20th save of the season.
The Dodgers will send Zack Greinke out for game 3 on Wednesday.