ST. LOUIS (AP) — Yasiel Puig has never missed the postseason since making his major league debut in 2013, and he doesn’t plan on ending that run.
Puig homered three times and had a career-high seven RBIs, giving him five homers in two games, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed St. Louis 17-4 Saturday to move ahead of the Cardinals into sole possession of the second National League wild card.
“We want to be back in the playoffs, like every year.” Puig said. “We need to play like a team, like family, hard every day, every pitch, in every situation.”
Puig hit a solo homer in the fourth off John Gant (7-6) and three-run drives in the fifth against Mike Mayers and in the seventh versus Luke Weaver. Puig raised his season total to 21 homers with the first three-homer game of his major league career. He became the fourth Dodgers hitter since 2000 with consecutive multi=homer games after Cody Bellinger, Adrian Beltre, and Shawn Green.
“He’s focused, and he understands the importance of every pitch,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “For him to be as productive, have that day, get us on the board, have some space with the score, we needed every bit of it today. Guys fed off of his energy.”
Bellinger hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Luke Weaver and had a career-high six RBIs. The defending NL champions have won four consecutive games and nine of their last 14.
“Once you see him do it, you’re like, oh, I can do this,” Bellinger said of Puig. “I think that’s just for everybody. That’s why it’s so contagious. We’ve got a good thing going and we’re going to try and keep it going.
Rich Hill (9-5) allowed four runs, two hits and four walks in five innings, improving to 3-1 in seven starts against the Cardinals.
St. Louis has lost four straight games for the third time this season and has dropped eight of its last 13 games.
Gant allowed three runs, six hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
“You can’t walk those guys,” Gant said. “You’ve just got to come out and bear down harder than that.”
Manny Machado hit a two-run homer in the first inning, his 11th for Los Angeles and 35th this year overall. The Dodgers have homered in 23 consecutive games, the longest streak in the major leagues this season and one shy of the franchise record set in 1953.
Patrick Wisdom put St. Louis ahead 4-3 in the fourth with his first big league grand slam. Bellinger hit a two-run single off Tyler Webb in the fifth.
“Hopefully they got all their hits out today,” Wisdom said. “I think everyone’s flushed what happened today, and we’re moving on.”
Dodgers: RHP John Axford (broken right fibula) allowed one run and one hit in two-thirds of an inning Friday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga, which completed a three-game sweep of Visalia to win the California League title. LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain) pitched a scoreless inning for the Quakes. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said both will be activated from the DL on Monday.
RHP Adam Wainwright (1-3, 4.70) starts for St. Louis in the Sunday night finale of the four-game series, and RHP Ross Stripling (8-3, 2.61) opens for the Dodgers.
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