In what had been a 1-0 pitcher’s duel all night, Yasiel Puig put the game out of reach with one tremendous swing Thursday night as the Los Angeles Dodgers shutout the Atlanta Braves 5-0.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning Puig launched the first pitch he saw into the right field seats for his first career grand-slam. The slam was his third homer on the season and now only puts him a solo homer away from the home run cycle in his first week in the big leagues.
I made a joke on twitter during the game that Puig could be second to Adrian Gonzalez in all offensive categories for the Dodgers by the end of the week. That may not just be a joke the way things have been for the absolute star that is being born before our very eyes.
In only four games Puig is already only eight RBI behind the second leading RBI leader on the team (Matt Kemp, 17). Only four Dodgers have more home runs than Puig and he only has 16 at-bats. What he has done has been nothing short of amazing.
Including the 0-for-4 night on Wednesday, Puig is now 7-for-16 (.438) with the three homers and nine RBI. The only part of Puig’s game we haven’t seen is stolen bases but nobody is complaining.
Dodgers starter Zack Greinke rebounded from his last few starts by shutting down the Braves offense not allowing a run over seven innings of work. It didn’t seem like Greinke would last past the fifth inning after the first three innings took 60 pitches (only 33 for strikes) but he was able to get through seven with a season-high 117 pitches.
Only once in Greinke’s six previous starts this season had he lasted at least six innings and that happened in his first start of the season. Having a starter get through seven innings is a big break for the bullpen that has been taxed lately.
Braves starter Tim Hudson ended up with the loss but not because he didn’t pitch well. Hudson limited the Dodgers to only one run on four hits while striking out five and not walking anybody over seven innings. The only run came on a Skip Schumaker RBI groundout with two on in the bottom of the second.
The Dodgers, 3-1 with Puig, look to continue the winning tomorrow with Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 2.89) vs. Paul Maholm (7-4, 3.68).
WP: Zack Greinke (3-1) LP: Tim Hudson (4-5)