While all the hoopla surrounding today’s Indians/Dodgers cactus league game played at Camelback Ranch will be about Yasiel Puig’s line drive three-run blast, let’s not forget that if it were not for the clutchy two out run scoring single from Alex Castellanos to center to extend that seventh inning, then Puig might not have had the chance to come up and hit that three-run home run. Luis Cruz, and A.J. Ellis both had two hits, and Matt Kemp played again at DH, and went 0 for 3. The Dodgers scored four runs in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie, to beat the Tribe 5-1.
The game initially was a pitching duel between starters Josh Beckett, and right hander Corey Kluber, during the first Dodger game to be webcast on the Dodgers.com site. Beckett turned in a strong performance, by pitching three frames, allowing no runs, one hit, and whiffing three. Kluber matched Beckett with three shut-out frames of his own, allowing just four hits, and whiffing two.
Yasiel Puig-Jake Roth USA Today Sports
The Dodgers scored first in the bottom of the fourth off of Cleveland pitcher Vinnie Pestano. Luis Cruz singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on an A.J. Ellis RBI single. 1-0 Dodgers. The Tribe would tie it up with a run in the top of the seventh off of Royal high graduate Matt Magill. There’s an error on a Yan Gomes grounder. Mike Mcdade singles Gomes to third. Juan Diaz’s sacrifice fly would score the tying run for the Indians.
The Dodgers would retake the lead in the bottom of the seventh. With former Dodger Fernando Nieve on the mound, catcher Wilkin Castillo reaches base on a bunt single that takes a Blue roll to stay fair up along the third base line. There’s an errant pick-off throw that advances Castillo to second. There were two outs, and Alex Castellanos smacks an RBI single to center to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. That extends the inning, and allows Omar Luna to draw a walk. Next up Yasiel Puig pinch-hits for Bison, and drills a line drive missile over the left field fence for a three-run home run to give the Dodgers a 5-1 lead. Puig’s first home run in Blue. That was all the Dodgers would need, as they hold on to win by a final score of 5-1.
The Dodgers used seven pitchers after Beckett. Mark Lowe, Javy Guerra, Josh Wall, Matt Magill, Kelvin De La Cruz, Peter Moylan, and a very impressive outing from Juan Abreu to close out the game. The Dodgers scored five runs on 12 hits, with Puig’s home run being the only extra base-hit.
I want to remind everyone not to get too excited about Puig. I know he looks great, and I am excited too, I mean I was drooling the entire game. However we must remember that we still don’t know how he would do against major league pitching. The Dodgers are going to start him out in the minors first, to see how he does. If he starts crushing the ball, well then I guess the Dodgers will have to go from there. Until then though, let’s not start freaking out just yet. Although dam, he does look good doesn’t he? That strong short compact stroke. Although if it were up to me , I would have no problem with using him as a fourth outfielder or in some kind of platoon.
The Dodgers improve to 4-4-2 in Cactus League play, while Cleveland falls to 6-5. The Dodgers are off tomorrow and then travel to Peoria Stadium to face the Padres on Tuesday afternoon. In that game Clayton Kershaw will counter Jason Marquis. We could also see Matt Kemp make his first start in center field.