With the Dodgers trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Yasiel Puig hit a three-run homer, leading the Dodgers to a 6-4 victory over the Marlins. Puig, who seems to enjoy being the late inning hero, went 2-4 with two home runs and four RBI. His first homer went further than some of the home runs in the Home Run Derby, while his second homer could not have come at a better time.
“Big players make big plays in big moments,” Dave Roberts said. “We seem to have a knack for the heroics late. He does have a flair for the dramatic. For me, it was good to see his heartbeat stay calm after getting behind in the count, 0-2. There have been many times where we’ve seen him get over-amped and try to do too much. But tonight, he had two big spots to help us, and he came through both times.”
The Dodgers took an early lead on an interesting play in the second inning. Joc Pederson led off the inning with a double then he advanced to third on a single by Yasmani Grandal. After two outs were recorded, Chris Taylor came to the plate. On an 0-2 pitch, Grandal took off for second base and Pederson ran home as soon as J.T, Realmuto threw towards second. The throw was perfect but Dee Gordon dropped the ball. Once he retrieved it, he threw in the direction of home plate but his throw went to the backstop. This allowed Pederson to score and the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead.
After the Marlins tied the game in the fourth inning, Puig decided to join the Home Run Derby in the fifth inning. Dan Straily threw a fastball over the heart of the plate and Puig knew exactly what to do with it. He drove it over the wall in left field and nearly hit the windows at the back of the park. Statcast measured an exit velocity of 108.6 mph, a launch angle of 25 degrees, and it traveled 449 feet according to Statcast.
Straily recorded two outs, then Corey Seager came to the plate. He worked a 2-2 count then, on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Straily threw a slider on the inside half of the plate. He pulled the ball over the wall in right field, hitting the upper deck and making it a 3-1 game. The excitement, however, was short-lived for Dodger fans. Brandon McCarthy hit Ichiro Suzuki with the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth inning. Gordon then hit into a force-out, replacing Suzuki at first base. Giancarlo Stanton then drove the ball to the right-center field gap, where Puig bobbled the ball before picking it up. That allowed Gordon to score and it was 3-2. Stanton then advanced to third on a passed ball by Grandal. Then, after a strikeout and a walk, Justin Bour hit a two-run double, giving the Marlins a 4-3 lead.
The Dodgers never really got another opportunity to score until AJ Ramos allowed it in the ninth inning. He started out by recording two outs, but he then allowed a single to Pederson. Ramos then threw a wild pitch that sent Pederson to second. Grandal then walked, putting runners on first and second for Puig. Trayce Thompson entered the game to pinch-run for Grandal, representing the go-ahead run. Speed, however, was not necessary to score in the ninth inning. Puig came to the plate and Ramos quickly got two strikes on him. Ramos then threw a ball, before deciding to throw a 1-2 fastball. Puig drove the ball over the wall in left-center field, hitting the home run structure. The pizza place I was watching at erupted in cheering as Puig rounded the bases for the second time that night. This time, the Dodgers had a 6-4 lead when he touched home.
Keys To The Game:
Do I need to explain why Puig’s two homers were so huge? His first homer was literally huge, traveling 449 feet. His second homer was huge because of when it came. When your team is trailing by a run with two outs in the ninth inning, a home run is just what you need. That is what Puig did on Friday night when he hit a three-run shot.
So Close Ramos:
AJ Ramos was one strike away from earning the save when he allowed the homer to Puig.
“I’m not as sharp with those days off, but I was one strike away,” Ramos said. “I was sharp enough for that, but just couldn’t get the last out.”
Alex Wood will take the mound for Los Angeles and José Ureña will take the mound for the Marlins in game two of the three-game series. The 26-year-old is enjoying the best year of his career with a record of 10-0 and an ERA of 1.67 so far. In 15.1 career innings against the Dodgers, Ureña is 1-1 with an ERA of 0.59. The game will start at 4:10 pm PT and be televised on SportsNet LA.