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Yasiel Puig’s Debut Sparks Dodgers Win Against San Diego


Dodgers 2 7 0

Padres 1 8 0

WP- Fife (1-0)

LP- Stults (4-5)

S- League (12)

HR- Gonzalez (8), Van Slyke (5)

The hype was built up to epic proportions. Immediately following the Dodgers loss to Colorado on Sunday night, the team announced that they had called up Cuban uber prospect Yasiel Puig and optioned Matt Magill back down to AAA. Seemingly out of desparation after losing center fielder Matt Kemp and left fielder Carl Crawford both to hamstring injuries, there was little choice but to bring up a prospect from the minor league ranks. The fans had been pining for Puig, and the Dodgers granted their wish on Monday night. Yasiel Puig made his Major League debut at Dodger Stadium in front of 37,055 against the San Diego Padres on this the third of June, 2013.

Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig have neighboring lockers in the clubhouse. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Nicknames like “The Cuban Missle,” ” Puigapalooza”, “The Bay of Puigs”, or my own  “The Fried Plantain” were circulating throughout the day online to my amusement. Puig would lead-off for the Dodgers and start in right field. In his first at bat, he hit a single to center field. Puig also picked up another single in the sixth inning. The Cuban wonder boy ended up going 2-4 with two singles and a game saving assist in the top of the ninth inning.

The Dodgers only two runs were from two solo shots by Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke. Thanks to a solid performance by Stephen Fife which resulted in his first career win and 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball by the Dodgers bullpen, they got the win in game one which kicked off a ten-game homestand.

Stephen Fife makes the spot start instead of Chris Capuano who is nursing a triceps strain, and he promptly allows a lead-off walk to Everth Cabrera. Last night Matt Magill walked nine which tied a Los Angeles Dodgers record. Cabrera steals his 22nd base of the year with Alexi Amarista at bat. Scott Van Slyke is unable to catch a shallow fly ball to left field as it drops between Van Slyke and Luis Cruz who also can’t get to the ball. Fife finally gets the first out of the inning by striking out Chase Headley. Jedd Gyorko hits into an inning ending  5-4-3 double play!

Here comes Yasiel Puig for his first Major League at bat versus the lefty Eric Stults. On a 2-2 count, Puig hits a single to center field! But alas, the Dodgers are still not good. Nick Punto is doubled up, and Yasiel Puig must go back to the dugout. Sigh. Adrian Gonzalez continues to tear the ball up, and he wallops a solo shot to right field to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. If only Punto could have not made two outs the Dodgers could have cashed in more than just one run. Ramon Hernandez, clean-up hitter, hits a weak dribbler to second base for the third out.

Stephen Fife pitches a very nice 1-2-3 inning in the top of the second.

Stephen Fife filled in admirably for the injured Chris Capuano. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the second Scott Van Slyke leads off with a solo homerun left field, his fifth homerun, and the Dodgers lead 2-0. Andre Ethier grounds out , Jerry Hairston Jr. flies out, and Luis Cruz strikes out looking.

Nick Hundley strikes out to begin the top of the third. Eric Stults grounds out, and Hernandez makes the throw to first to retire the pitcher. Everth Cabrera singles to right field with two outs. Amarista strikes out to end the scoreless frame.

The Dodgers go down in order in the bottom half of the third. In his second at-bat, Yasiel Puig is fooled by an off speed pitch as he grounds out to third.

Fife strikes out Headley for the second time in the top of the fourth. Gyorko singles, and Chris Denorfia walks. With Kyle Blanks batting, Ramon Hernandez makes a great throw to pick-off Denorfia at first! Great play by Hernandez and Gonzalez for the big out. Blanks strikes out, and the Dodgers escape unscathed.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Dodgers make all three outs to Chase Headley at third base as they go down 1-2-3.

In the top of the fifth, Fife pitches a nice quick 1-2-3 inning. Even though all the focus has been on Puig tonight, Stephen Fife is quietly pitching a very good game.

Ethier flies out to deep right field, but Venable makes the catch at the warning track for the first out in the bottom of the fifth. Hairston and Cruz both are retired, and we go to the sixth.

Things quickly unravel for Fife in the sixth. Amarista doubles to the right field corner, and he easily comes in to score on a Headley single. Don Mattingly will go to the bullpen, even though Fife has only made 76 pitches. Mattingly makes his signature double switch as he brings in Juan Uribe to play third. Peter Moylan, the Aussie, will come in and make his first appearance as a Dodger since being called up a couple of days ago. Moylan is a right-handed sidearmer. Gyorko promptly singles. Moylan induces double play from Denorfia to end the inning, and the Dodgers cling to their one-run lead.

Yasiel Puig maked his MLB debut to much fanfare. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Fife pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks on 76 pitches.

Uribe strikes out against Stults to open the bottom of the sixth. Puig comes up with his second single of the night as a hard chopper bounces off the glove of Kyle Blanks into right field. Nick Punto singles to center field, and Puig shows off his wheels by advancing to third! Adrian Gonzalez is unable to come through this time as he grounds into an inning ending double play.

Moylan is still in for the seventh. Blanks singles on a groundball to second when Gonzalez is pulled off the bag by a offline throw from Punto. Mattingly will now bring in Paco Rodriguez to take over from Moylan. Pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman grounds into yet another double play. Hundley is retired on a grounder to third base even though Uribe’s throw is extremely high. Luckily Adrian Gonzalez is able to make a great stretch.

Scott Van Slyke singles with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Ethier lines into a force out, and SVS is out at second. Mark Ellis is pinch-hitting for Paco, and he lines out to left field to end the inning.

Kenly Jansen will pitch the eighth for the Dodgers. Mark Kotsay strikes out. Cabrera singles, and he steals yet another base with Amarista at the plate. Jansen rears back and strikes out a frustrated Amarista. Headley flies out to Ethier in shallow center for the third out.

Tim Stauffer, a righty, will relieve Stults in the bottom of the eighth inning. Luis Cruz gets a rare base hit, a single to right field to lead-off. Uribe’s sacrifice bunt moves Cruz to second. Cruz is tagged out by Headley on a grounder hit by Puig. Cruz runs right into the ball hit in front of him. Puig is at first on the fielder’s choice. Punto grounds out to end the inning.

Eric Stults pitched 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits with 3 strikeouts and no walks on 90 pitches.

Yasiel Puig showed off his cannon of an arm in the top of the ninth inning to give Brandon League the save. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dodger fans begin to get nervous all over Los Angeles and beyond as Brandon League comes in to pitch the top of the ninth inning. Gyorko grounds out. Denorfia draws a one-out walk. Then Kyle Blanks hits a deep fly ball to right field which is caught by Yasiel Puig who immediately guns it back to Adrian Gonzalez to double up Denorfia off first! Wow! His arm is a cannon! The Dodgers win, and we all light up Cuban cigars to celebrate!

Tomorrow Ted Lilly and Clayton Richard will start game two. Hanley Ramirez is also expected to be activated tomorrow. Join us as we continue to document Yasiel Puig’s rise to stardom and the Dodgers turbulent season.