The Dodgers can't stop Yasiel Puig from crashing into walls and won't try to, as long as he keeps getting up and winning games the way he did Thursday night.
The rookie's two-run, two-out single in the seventh inning with the bases loaded was the difference in a 6-4 win over the Phillies that extended the Dodgers' win streak to a season-high six games.
Puig finished by going 1-for-4 with 2 RBI. His average is at .427.
Mattingly hasn't been immune to Puigmania, as he gave the rookie the green light on a 3-0 pitch with two outs, Nick Punto on third base in the second inning and Adrian Gonzalez on deck. Puig grounded out.
But Puig seems to turn the page easily. After flailing wildly at the first two sliders he received from reliever Justin De Fratus in the seventh inning, he reached far across the plate and muscled a third slider past shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the two-run single.
Zack Greinke (5-2) got the win, even though he couldn't protect a three-run first-inning lead the Dodgers offense ran up on Jonathan Pettibone, who would later retire 15 straight.
Along with Puig rewriting the record books, the Dodgers enjoyed a bonus bolt from Matt Kemp, who created an insurance run in the eighth inning with a single and two two steals before scoring on a sacrifice fly from A.J. Ellis -- as if Kemp never had a strained hamstring.
Add in a two-run double by Andre Ethier in a three-run first inning and the Dodgers finally have that potent outfield they thought they put together, with Puig the surprise replacement for the injured Carl Crawford. This was the first game with Ethier sliding over to left field and he caught all three balls hit his way.
Greinke allowed a second-inning home run to Domonic Brown and a seventh-inning go-ahead shot by Chase Utley that cleared the wall at the same time Puig nearly knocked it over.
Kemp, however, doesn't want to see Puig lose a collision to a wall the way Kemp did last year in Colorado, leading to serious shoulder surgery. Kemp also separated a shoulder running into the Dodger Stadium wall as a rookie.
"That's a big boy. I don't know if that wall can hold him. I think he beat up the wall more than the wall beat him up. I know the wall got me. It didn't get him. I'm just glad he's still out there on the field," Kemp said.
---- Source: MLB.com
For more on Puig's exploits, check out this article in the L. A. Times.
Puig is a dangerous free-swinger at the plate.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt