Puig hit a three-run home run and exhibited a strong throwing arm
to lead the Dodgers to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks
on Sunday in front of 37,447 at Dodger Stadium.
During the past four days, Los Angeles magazine and ESPN.com
published stories detailing Puig's defection from Cuba, threats he
received from those who smuggled him to Mexico and accusations about
Puig being an informant for Cuba's Communist government.
Puig's homer led a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With one out, second baseman Dee Gordon singled and came home on
left fielder Carl Crawford's triple down the right-field line to
give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.
After first baseman Adrian Gonzalez drew an intentional walk, Puig
sent a 1-0 fastball from right-hander Josh Collmenter (0-2) into the
left-field stands. The home run was Puig's second of the season.
"If I didn't hit the home run," Puig said after the game, "we'd
still be playing."
Before the Dodgers' rally, Collmenter retired 16 of the first 18
batters he faced, scattering two hits and a walk in the process.
Collmenter finished with six strikeouts and two walks in six
"That's the only pitch I'd like back out of the whole thing,"
Collmenter said about Puig's home run. "We were going back inside,
and it was a pitch that needed to be a couple of inches off the
plate inside. Instead, it came back over the plate."
Puig also helped defensively by throwing out Diamondbacks catcher
Miguel Montero from the right-field corner in the top of the second
inning. Montero hit a hard grounder down the right-field line and
tried to stretch his single into a double. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez
caught Puig's throw and tagged Montero out.
Los Angeles pitcher Josh Beckett was impressed with "the aggressive
nature of that play," he said.
"He's unbelievable," Beckett said of Puig. "There are a million
things that would happen if I was playing right field in that
situation. But he just goes over there, picks the ball up and
confidently throws a strike."
Pitcher Jamey Wright (1-0) received the victory in relief of
Beckett, who had his longest and most effective outing of the
season. In five innings, Beckett compiled seven strikeouts while
conceding only one hit and two walks in facing two batters over the
"I don't think my thought process was too sharp," said Beckett, who
attributed his success to catcher Tim Federowicz. "I thought 'Fed'
did a great job making sure that I threw the right pitch in the
[to top of second column]
Beckett, who pitched only eight games last year because of thoracic
outlet syndrome, began this season on the disabled list with a
bruised right thumb.
"We're seeing him adapt to who he is right now," Dodgers manager Don
Mattingly said. "He's using his breaking ball more, which is going
to add on. He's using his change-up some. So he's putting doubt in
The Diamondbacks brought the potential tying run to the plate after
scoring one run in the seventh. Third baseman Eric Chavez's hit a
one-out double that brought first baseman Paul Goldschmidt home and
sent Montero to third base. But relief pitcher Chris Perez struck
out left fielder Mark Trumbo and center fielder Ty Campana to end
Right-hander Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth to earn
his seventh save and send Arizona to its eighth loss in the past
"In this whole series, when the Dodgers struck, they struck really
hard and really fast," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We
were just unable to make the pitches and, offensively, we didn't
have much going."
NOTES: Trumbo, tied for the major league lead in home runs with six,
is in a 2-for-16 slump. ... Diamondbacks CF A.J. Pollack left
Sunday's game in the sixth inning because of tightness in his neck.
... Chavez now needs three RBIs to reach 900 for his career. ...
Montero is batting .348 (8-for-23) in his past seven games. ...
Mattingly celebrated his 53rd birthday Sunday. ... Los Angeles LHP
Clayton Kershaw threw 50 pitches in a three-inning simulated game
Sunday. The shoulder soreness that put the two-time Cy Young Award
winner on the disabled list was "gone," Kershaw said afterward. ...
Dodgers C A.J. Ellis, who underwent knee surgery April 8, caught
Kershaw. Ellis remains on the disabled list. ... Gonzalez extended
his hitting streak to 15 games by hitting a second-inning double
Sunday. Gonzalez's career best is a 18-game streak.
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