Puig Hits Go-Ahead Homer On Cuban Heritage Day, Dodgers Sweep Padres With 2-1 Win
Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
CHAVEZ RAVINE (CBSLA.com) — The humid, warm temperatures during the early innings at Dodger Stadium encouraged the crowd to use programs and baseball mitts as hand-held cooling fans, giving the wide illusion of deep blue butterflies throughout the stands as Zack Greinke earned his sixth consecutive win.
The day after recording the winningest calendar month in Los Angeles history (23-6 in August), the Dodgers opened September on the right track as Yasiel Puig hit the go-ahead homer to give the Dodgers the 2-1 win.
It was the first time the Dodgers swept the Padres in the 2013 season.
Greinke was solid through seven frames, giving up just a pair of hits and one walk to seven strikeouts and one earned run.
The first hit, and subsequent run, of the ball game came in the third inning, after Greinke wavered on his pitch location and gave up a pair of walks. Alexi Amarista slapped a two-out single to left with runners on the corners to score Reymond Fuentes, giving the Padres a 1-0 lead.
Carl Crawford lined a double down the right field line with two outs to give the Dodgers their first hit of the game. He was brought home when Mark Ellis blooped a single just beyond the reach of Amarista at third, tying the ball game at one run apiece.
Padres starter Tyson Ross was aggressively dominant on the mound throughout the first half of the game, striking out a career-best ten Dodgers through his first five innings.
The crowd erupted, however, when Greinke stole second base after having singled up the middle in the fifth. He advanced to third when Crawford reached base for his third time of the day with an infield single, and would have scored easily had second baseman Jedd Gyorko not prevented the ball from reaching the middle of the outfield. Mark Ellis struck out swinging to end the inning.
Unfortunately, for the Padres, Ellis would be the final batter Tyson faced.
In the spirit of Cuban Heritage Day at the Ravine, following a 1-2-3 inning by Greinke, Yasiel Puig connected on his first pitch of the sixth inning to send one deep into the left field pavilion off reliever Dale Thayer for his 14th homer of the season. The shot to left gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Sunday marked Puig’s 34th career multi-hit game, following a 4-for-4 effort the rookie achieved on Friday evening.
As soon as Ronald Belisario entered the game in the eighth inning in relief of Greinke, Padres rookie Reymond Fuentes grounded his first career hit up the middle. He would advance to second on a wild pitch.
Belisario had come into the game having given up just a single run through his last 10 appearances, dating back to August 2.
After Fuentes moved to third on a wide grounder, which would have drifted into the outfield if not for the glove of Mark Ellis, Belisario was replaced by Paco Rodriguez, who struck out Venable, and picked up a close at on the mound that bounced off his leg. His throw to first was close but perfect, just as Fuentes approached the plate.
It was the high-water mark for San Diego, who wouldn’t get so close to tying the game again.
Kenley Jansen recorded his 24th save of the season, his 17th in a row, and earned his 100th strikeout of the season.
The Dodgers’ magic number is now down to 17.
Seven-time All Star third baseman, Michael Young, acquired on Saturday from the Philadelphia Phillies, is expected to join the club in Denver on Monday when the Dodgers take on the Colorado Rockies.
26 of the Dodgers’ next 29 games are against National League West opponents.