Puig sparks Dodgers to another win

Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- When Yasiel Puig ran into the right field wall tracking Chase Utley's seventh-inning home run Thursday night, the Dodger Stadium crowd gasped, then groaned.
The wall only groaned.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly showed concern over the wall, which was somehow left standing despite 245 pounds of Puig: "We checked the wall, and it's fine."
The Philadelphia Phillies?
They looked bruised and battered after Puig reeled, dusted himself off and came up in the bottom half of the inning with the bases loaded.
The rollicking rookie delivered in the clutch once more, and the Dodgers continued their best stretch of the season with a 6-4 win.
Puig stretched for a not-quite-enough-outside pitch from Justin De Fratus to knock a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning. The hit scored A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe to give Los Angeles a 5-4 lead. And a day after Puig collected his sixth three-hit game in his first 22 contests, he again lifted the Dodgers to a win.
"He's really given us a spark," Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp said. "I'm glad he's up here with us. This is a pretty dangerous lineup, especially when everybody's clicking at the same time."
Added Phillies manager Charlie Manuel: "That's what you talk about when you talk about young pitchers. You and your catcher have to be on your own course. They could've expanded the zone even more. We made it too good for him. It might have been a ball, and at the same time, it was a pitch he was able to get his bat on."
The Phillies had the better offensive output for much of the game, finishing with 14 hits -- including 12 against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, who still picked up the win.
The Phillies made plenty lot of contact against Greinke but struggled to manufacture runs. They stranded 11 baserunners in the first six innings as they tallied 11 hits.
"We didn't get the big hit," Manuel said. "We didn't get the clutcher. We had guys on base all night, but we had guys go 0-for-4 in between there."
The Dodgers had just seven hits, but they delivered timely raps as they have for a week now.
Los Angeles jumped on Jonathan Pettibone early, scoring three runs in the first inning on a pair of doubles. Kemp doubled to score Yasiel Puig, and Andre Ethier doubled to drive in Adrian Gonzalez and Kemp.
The Phillies got on the board in the second inning on Domonic Brown's home run to deep center field that cut the Los Angeles lead to 3-1.
Philadelphia tied the game in the fifth inning on back-to-back RBI singles as Utley drove home Pettibone and Jimmy Rollins knocked in Ben Revere.
Utley hit a solo home run off Greinke (5-2) in the top of the seventh inning to put the Phillies ahead 4-3 before Puig took back the lead.
Ellis added a sacrifice fly that scored Kemp in the eighth inning for an insurance run as the Dodgers won their season-high sixth consecutive game. Kemp, who returned from the disabled list Tuesday and made a game-ending diving catch but then rested Wednesday, went 2-for-4 with two runs Thursday.
"The biggest (credit for the Dodgers' success) is health," manager Don Mattingly said. "We talk about it a lot. Since New York, it feels like we've been pretty much full strength."
Finally healthy and with Puig flattening fastballs and fences, the Dodgers are riding a wave of energy.
"Ah, it's the best," Los Angeles infielder Nick Punto said. "When things are going good, there's nothing like it. You can't wait to get to the clubhouse, can't wait to see the guys, can't wait to rag each other. Baseball is a much better game when you're winning."
Added Kemp: "Everybody is doing what they need to do to help this team win. It's showing out there. We're having fun. We're not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We're playing the game the right way."
NOTES: Despite a team-leading six-game RBI streak and a nine-game hitting streak, SS Hanley Ramirez was scheduled to have the day off. He entered the game in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter, however, and drew a walk.... The Phillies acquired veteran INF John McDonald from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named or cash. McDonald was already traded once this season, from the Pittsburgh Pirates to Cleveland, and he was designated for assignment by the Indians on Wednesday. ... Dodgers RHP Josh Beckett, who has battled a nerve problem that has caused numbness in his hand, has started throwing. There is no timetable for a possible return.

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