Puig Power, Pair Of Wild Pitches Lift Dodgers Over Braves In Extras

Braves     1 8 1Dodgers  2 6 0WP-League-2-2LP-varvaro-3-1HR-Puig-4

The Dodgers won their second game in as many nights against the Atlanta Braves in a battle that needed ten innings to determine a winner. The Dodgers would be that team thanks to a great pitching performance from Hyun-jin Ryu, another home run from the incredible Yasiel Puig, and two wild pitches from Atlanta relief pitching.

What more could the incredibly gifted Puig do? Save children form burning homes? Cure cancer? Balance the budget? Or perhaps slam another home run? Puig watch 2013 continued with a frenzy as the right fielder blasted his fourth home run which tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. The game was a battle of lefties, as Hyun-jin Ryu, and Atlanta lefty Paul Maholm were making hitters kill worms all night long. Maholm had 14 ground outs, and Ryu had 13, as both pitchers locked in a tight duel. Ryu went 7.2 innings, allowing just one run on four hits, with one walk, and five whiffs. While Maholm pitched into the eighth, allowing one run on four hits, and whiffed three. Credit should also go to Hernandez who had two big hits late in the game.

Ryu was excellent again-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves scored their only run in the fourth frame. Freddie Freeman doubled, and went to third on an Evan Gattis grounder, and then scored on a Dan Uggla RBI single. Freeman was the Atlanta hitter of the night collecting three hits. The Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the sixth, when Puig just muscled a Maholm pitch into the left field pavilion. Puig went 1 for 3 with his fourth home run, and a walk. Puig is now hitting .421 this season. No Dodger player has ever hit four home runs in his first four games.

Maholm had limited the Dodgers to just two hits through the first six innings. Puig was almost the hero yet again in the bottom of the eighth, when Hernandez singled, was sacrificed to second, and then went to third on a passed ball. Puig was intentionally walked with first base open, but Jordan Walden got Mark Ellis to fly out.

The Dodgers finally broke the tie in the bottom of the tenth. With Anthony Varvaro on the mound, Hernandez singled again. A wild pitch sent him to second, and after Cruz singled Hernandez to third, pinch-runner Skip Schumaker scores on the second wild pitch of the frame from Varvaro. The Dodgers win 2-1! The Dodgers have now won four out of their last five. This was a great game, and here is how it all went down……

Maholm pitched well but comes away with a no-decision-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Andrelton Simmons leads off the game with a bunt single. Ryu whiffs Jason Heyward. Justin Upton flies to left,  but Freddy Freeman singles past the diving Luis Cruz. With first and second, Evan Gattis flies out to Puig, and the Dodgers get out of the first.

In the bottom of the first, Yasiel Puig flies out to center. Mark Ellis’s high chopper to third is bumbled for an error. Adrian Gonzalez grounds into an inning ending 3-4-3 double play, and that’s that for the Dodgers in the first.

Ryu pitches a scoreless top of the second. After Chris Johnson grounds out, and Uggla whiffs. B.J. Upton singles, but Ryu retires opposing starter Maholm with a whiff.

The Dodgers waste a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the second. Scott Van Slyke begins the frame by whiffing. Maholm walks Jerry Hairston, and Andre Ethier singles. With first and second, Maholm easily gets the atrocious Ramon Hernandez to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. We’re still scoreless after two.

Ryu pitches a nice 123 top of the third inning, which ends on a whiff of Justin Upton. Maholm returns the favor with three grounders to end the third. Puig grounds out in his second at-bat.

The Braves break the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth with a run. Freeman leads off with a double off the wall in left. Evan Gattis’s grounder moves Freeman over to third. With the Dodger infield up, Johnson’s grounder is unable to score Freeman. Unfortunately Uggla’s single into left does, and the Braves lead 1-0.

Maholm retires M.Ellis, Gonzalez, and van Slyke on three straight grounders in the bottom of the fourth. Ryu returns the favor with three more grounders in the top of the fifth. Both pitcher’s horns are locked as we go to the bottom of the fifth.

Hairston leads off the bottom of the fifth with a single to left. That’s just the second hit of the night for the Dodgers. Ethier grounds into a force out, just beating the throw back to first. Of course Hernandez grounds right into a double play.

Ryu records another 123 inning in the top of the sixth. Two more grounders, including a nice play by Hairston on a line drive. Braves still lead by a score of 1-0.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Braves are no longer able to contain Yasiel Puig. After Maholm retires Cruz, and Ryu, Puig strides to the plate and blasts another home run haflway up the left field pavilion seats. His fourth homer of the season ties the game at 1-1. Unbelievable!

In the top of the seventh, Ryu dominates again. Johnson grounds out. Uggla walks, but Ryu retires Upton and Maholm to end the frame.

Yasiel Puig-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Van Slyke draws a walk. Hairston pops out. Of course Ethier grounds out, and we move to the eighth still tied at 1-1.

In the top of the eighth, Ryu still in the game, gets two quick outs. Simmons pops out, and Heyward whiffs. Justin Upton’s grounder to the hole at short is double clutched by Cruz, so Upton is safe at first. Mattingly brings a hook for Ryu who leaves to a well deserved ovation. Ryu goes 7.2 innings, allowing just one run on six hits, with one walk, and six whiffs.

Enter lefty Paco Rodriguez, who promptly allows a single to Freeman, which puts runners at first and second. Up comes Evan Gattis, and out comes Mattingly to bring in Kenley Jansen. The big right hander wins this battle, getting Gattis to pop up, and the game remains tied.

In the bottom of the eighth, Hernandez leads off with a single. Cruz sacrifices him to second. Atlanta yanks Maholm, and brings in fireballer Jordan Walden to pitch to Juan Uribe, who was double-switched into the game along with Jansen. Walden uncorks a wild pitch with Uribe at the plate, and Hernandez walks down to third. Uribe’s grounder fails to score Hernandez because the drawn-in Atlanta infield snuffs that out. Atlanta wisely intentionally walks Puig to put runners at first and third, for M.Ellis. Of course he pops out, and the Dodgers don’t score.

Puig homered again-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jansen pitches the top of the ninth, and sets the Braves down in order. He whiffs Pena and B.J. Upton. Move to the bottom of the ninth, with the game still tied.

Left hander Luis Avilan comes in to pitch for the Braves. Gonzo whiffs. Van Slyke flies out to left. Hanley Ramirez comes off the bench to pinch-hit for Jansen’s spot, and ends the inning with a long fly out to the warning track. We move on into extras.

The Dodgers bring in Brandon League to pitch the top of the tenth. Brian McCann a long fly ball to left for the first out. Simmons grounds out. Heyward doubles into the left field corner. With the go ahead run at second, Justin Upton’s little tapper in front of the plate is the final out of the inning. Hernandez’s throw barely beats him by a step, although replays indicate that he may have been safe. Hey I won’t argue. Although Freddie Gonzalez did.

Right hander Anthony Varvaro takes the mound in the bottom of the tenth. Ethier a long fly out to right. Hernandez singles again. With Luis Cruz at the plate, Varvaro uncorks a wild pitch, and Hernandez advances to second. Hernandez can only stop at third on Cruz’s single through the hole in left. Schumaker is put in as a pinch-runner for Hernandez. Finally the game ends when Varvaro uncorks his second wild pitch of the game allowing Schumaker to score the winning run. The Dodgers win!

Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Jerry Hairston Jr. (6) makes a play during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I hate to be a downer but before the game we learned that Hanley Ramirez was out of the lineup again, and apparently nursing a tight hamstring. Here we go again right? Hanley did get to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth, and flied out. So it doesn’t look like it’s as serious as it originally was. The Dodgers are also awaiting word on ted Lilly’s rusty neck which is bothering him again. If he can’t go on Saturday, the Dodgers may have to call up Matt Magill again.

The Dodgers now improve to 27-33 and will go for a series win tomorrow night. Join us again tomorrow as the Dodgers battle the Braves at 6:10 PM. Kris Medlen will counter Stephen Fife. Puig has rejuvenated this ball club, and brought back some much needed energy and optimism to Dodger land. I can feel a lot of optimism in the last few days, and I am starting to feel that passion coming back again. Do we have a chance? Can we turn it around? I am starting to believe again. Please don’t let me down Dodgers. Go Blue!