By Paul Adkins
July 30, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yasiel Puig does everything with a touch of panache, including his game-ending home run trot.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ excitable rookie homered with two outs in the 11th inning for a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. Puig circled the bases and slid into home plate, where teammates were waiting for him after his first career walk-off homer.
“Each player does what he can when he gets to the plate. Some people jump, some people slide, some people run,” Puig said through a translator. “I have a previous teammate in Cuba that jumped and hurt his ankle. So I decided to slide.”
Puig drove an 0-1 pitch deep into the left-field pavilion against rookie Curtis Partch (0-1) for his 10th homer and 23rd RBI in 48 big league games. It salvaged an otherwise frustrating afternoon for the Dodgers, who were held to one hit by Tony Cingrani through the first seven innings.
“It wasn’t a terrible pitch,” Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco said. “I think, more than anything, it just had a little bit of elevation. In that situation, guys are trying to hit home runs, and Puig was able to get it in the air. As much as he’s chased pitches against us this series, I wanted it to be a ball.”
Brandon League (6-3) pitched two hitless innings for the win.
The NL West leaders, who took three of four from the Reds, won for the 26th time in 32 games and extended their lead to 2½ games over Arizona. They were a season-worst 12 games under .500 and 9½ games out of first place on June 21.
“I don’t know anything about destiny, but we’re just finding a way to win,” League said. “We have the feeling even before the game starts that we’re going to win, and whoever’s sitting in the other dugout is going to lose. We’ve got a good thing going and we’re just going to keep it rolling. Puig’s contributed a lot, but it’s not only him. The best part of this is that it’s a different guy every day, and we’re not counting on one person.”
Cincinnati pitchers set a franchise record with 20 strikeouts. Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Tim Federowicz each fanned three times as the Dodgers established a team high since 1900.
“You put your at-bats behind you, every single time. What’s in the past is in the past and you give it your best each time you come up,” Puig said. “Even though three of those strikeouts were mine, I just kept giving it my most. They had been throwing me a lot of high pitches, but I just kept with it.”
Cingrani, facing a lineup missing leadoff hitter Carl Crawford for the second straight day because of a high temperature, tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in his 12th big league start before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter.
The only hit against Cingrani was a two-out single through the box in the third inning by Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano — his first hit of the season. Mark Ellis followed with a towering drive toward the left-field corner that Chris Heisey caught in front of the short fence.
Los Angeles didn’t get another baserunner against the 24-year-old left-hander until Puig walked on a full count leading off the seventh. But the rookie was picked off first base with Gonzalez — the team’s RBI leader — at the plate.
Capuano held the Reds to three hits over 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander retired 15 of his first 16 batters, less than 24 hours after teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched two-hit ball over seven innings and retired his final 13 in a 4-1 victory.
“Cappy pounded the zone, and his fastball was competitive to both sides of the plate today,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “When he’s using his fastball more and more, he’s trusting a few of his other off-speed pitches to put in the mix and he doesn’t have to depend so much on the changeup. He just needs to use all of his repertoire and trust it. And when he does that, it’s fun to watch.”
Joey Votto’s two-out single in the first was Cincinnati’s only hit until Mesoraco snapped a string of 13 straight Cincinnati outs with a leadoff double in the sixth. Mesoraco advanced to third on Cingrani’s sacrifice bunt, and Reds manager Dusty Baker put on a suicide squeeze with Derrick Robinson at the plate.
Mesoraco had to return to third after the rookie fouled off an 0-1 pitch, and was retired in a rundown after Robinson grounded to third baseman Juan Uribe with the infield playing in.
The Reds wasted another leadoff double in the seventh by Votto.
NOTES: After beating RHP Zack Greinke in the series opener, the Reds lost three straight games started by Dodgers left-handers. Cincinnati is 19-19 in games started by opposing lefties. … Reds RHP Greg Reynolds, out of minor league options, was designated for assignment to make room for Cingrani, who was optioned to the minors during the All-Star break. … Ellis led off the first inning with an 11-pitch at-bat, popping up to third base after fouling off six consecutive pitches. … Phillips, the Reds’ cleanup hitter, was 1 for 13 with no RBIs during the four-game series. He has driven in two runs in his last seven games. … Ramirez singled in the 10th to reach base safely for the 36th consecutive game.
Dodgers 4, Reds 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hyun-Jin Ryu gave up two hits over seven innings and retired his last 13 batters, Skip Schumaker hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 Saturday night.
Ryu (9-3) had nine strikeouts, all in a span of 13 batters. The first came against Joey Votto, who took a called third strike after Chris Heisey hit his first triple of the season with two out in the third. Cincinnati’s run came on a homer by Jay Bruce in the second.
The Dodgers increased their NL West lead to 1 1/2 games over Arizona.
Ryu faced South Korean countryman Shin-Soo Choo for the first time in the major leagues. The Reds’ center fielder walked, grounded out to first base and struck out.
Kenley Jansen got the last three outs for his 14th save.
Bronson Arroyo (9-8) gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, after going 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his previous six starts against Los Angeles. The right-hander was coming off a complete-game 11-0 victory at San Francisco on Monday.
Carl Crawford, who made a brief visit to an emergency room on Thursday to get checked on for a high temperature and fever and then singled his first three times up in the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory Friday night, was held out of the lineup. Manager Don Mattingly replaced him with Schumaker, who came in with more plate appearances (53) and hits (18) against Arroyo than anyone else on Los Angeles’ roster.
Schumaker came through in the fifth, driving Arroyo’s 1-0 pitch to center field for his second home run of the season and a 3-1 Dodgers lead after a leadoff single by Mark Ellis. It was the 300th home run given up by the 14-year veteran, including a career-high and major league-worst 46 in 2011.
Schumaker doubled in the seventh inning and scored the Dodgers’ fourth run on a two-out single by Adrian Gonzalez.
The Dodgers got a run in the first on a two-out double by Hanley Ramirez after Yasiel Puig walked, advanced on a flyout and stole third without a throw. But the Reds tied it in the second when Bruce drove Ryu’s 2-0 pitch into the right field pavilion for his 22nd home run. Since the start of the 2010 season, Bruce leads all left-handed batters with 42 homer against lefty pitchers — including eight this season.
Bruce, the Reds’ right fielder, also threw out Puig at first base in the fifth after the unpredictable and overaggressive rookie made a wide turn on his single toward the line. The play immediately followed Schumaker’s homer.
In Thursday night’s series opener, Puig made a similar wide turn around first on a single to center and ended up at third base after Choo threw the ball past first baseman Joey Votto and the ball ended up in the stands for a two-base error that led to an unearned run against Mat Latos.