Puig, Dodgers demolish Giants

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[September 22, 2016]  LOS ANGELES -- Matt Moore said he never felt better before a game. However, those good vibes didn't transfer to the mound Wednesday.

Yasiel Puig smacked a three-run home run in the first inning to spark an early surge, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pounded Moore and the San Francisco Giants 9-3 at Dodger Stadium.

Howie Kendrick went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs for the Dodgers, who took two of three in the series. Corey Seager also went 2-for-4 to finish the series 6-for-12.

First-place Los Angeles (86-66) pushed its lead over second-place San Francisco (80-72) to six games in the National League West. The Dodgers' magic number to win the division dropped to five.

"We've put ourselves in a pretty good spot, but we want to continue pressing on," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

The Giants, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals all lost Wednesday, leaving them in a three-way tie for the two NL wild-card spots.

"We'll put this behind us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're playing a team that's been tough on us."

The Dodgers jumped all over Moore, who lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning in his last trip to Chavez Ravine on Aug. 25. On Wednesday, Moore (4-5) was charged with six runs on seven hits with a walk and no strikeouts in one-plus innings.

"This is as good as I've ever felt (before a start)," said Moore, who matched the shortest start of his career, an early exit on May 31, 2013, against the Cleveland Indians. "As far as the initiative and just the overall feeling of walking up this morning and the way my body was feeling and the way we won that game last night, you understand where we're at in the race and who we're trying to catch. It's a bad day to have a bad day."

Command appeared to be Moore's biggest problem.

"That's going to happen occasionally," Bochy said. "Pitches started mounting, and he was having trouble getting the ball where he wanted."

Roberts said the Dodgers made adjustments.

"That last outing here, (Moore) was starting to throw a cut fastball that we didn't know he had," Roberts said. "For us today, we were prepared for it."

Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda worked five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Maeda (16-9) is 3-0 in three starts against the Giants this season.

Denard Span walked on four pitches to open the game and advanced to second on a passed ball by catcher Carlos Ruiz. Span scored on an RBI single to right by Angel Pagan to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.

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Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) celebrates with manager Dave Roberts (30) after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the inning, Puig's three-run blast, his 11th home run this year, highlighted a five-run rally. Adrian Gonzalez and Maeda also had RBI singles in the inning as Los Angeles sent nine batters to the plate.

In seven home games since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City, Puig is batting .333 with three home runs and eight RBIs.

"I really appreciated the way the team has welcomed me since my return, and I'm trying to show that I'm grateful for the opportunity ever since I came back," said Puig, who also ran down a line drive by Joe Panik in the fourth inning.

Ehire Adrianza hit a solo shot -- his second long ball this season -- to left with two outs in the second to cut the Dodgers' edge to 5-2.

Justin Turner's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning gave Los Angeles a four-run cushion again.

A two-run double in the third by Kendrick and a run-scoring two-bagger by Andrew Toles in the fifth made it 9-2.

NOTES: An MRI confirmed Giants All-Star RHP Johnny Cueto sustained a Grade 1 left groin strain that forced him out of San Francisco's 2-0 win on Tuesday. Manager Bruce Bochy said Cueto is questionable for his next start. ... Giants INF Ehire Adrianza started for injured SS Brandon Crawford, who dislocated his left pinky Tuesday. Crawford is day-to-day. ... Both clubs resume play Thursday and begin four-game sets. Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (11-10, 3.97 ERA) will face Padres LHP Christian Friedrich (5-10, 4.78) in San Diego. Dodgers LHP Brett Anderson (0-2, 24.75 ERA) will make his first start in more than a month after a stint on the disabled list with a blister on his left index finger. He will oppose Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (11-9, 4.13) at Dodger Stadium. ... Lakers first-round pick Brandon Ingram threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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