Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 8, Giants 1
July, 25, 2014
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers got their weekend in San Francisco off to a flying start Friday with an 8-1 win over the Giants that drew them to within a half-game of the NL West division lead. It featured an L.A.-record five triples.
How it happened: Yasiel Puig had one of the most impressive nights of hitting -- and running -- in his career and Zack Greinke pitched seven scoreless innings to give the Dodgers a fairly stress-free victory in the first game of a crucial series. Puig tripled three times -- once missing a home run by an inch or two and twice pumping line drives into the right-center field gap. He also started his first game this season in center field, though he had an uneventful night in the field, catching the only ball hit to him.
The Dodgers knocked out Tim Lincecum with a five-run fifth inning. Greinke (12-6) didn't allow a hit until Pablo Sandoval sliced a two-hopper past the third baseman into left field in the fourth inning. Even working with a fairly constrained strike zone, he struck out 10 batters. Four of those strikeouts came in the third inning, courtesy of a wild pitch. Greinke became the first pitcher this year to strike out four batters in an inning.
Hits: Puig returned from missing four straight starts after being struck in the left hand with a pitch in St. Louis and looked not only healthy, but re-energized. He was the Dodgers' only offense in the first four innings, tripling and scoring in the first, and then joined the party in the five-run fourth. Overall, Puig was 4-for-5 with three triples, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. His only out was a fly ball to the warning track in center. Only one other player in Dodgers history ever had three triples in a game. It was Jimmy Sheckard in 1901.
Misses: Catcher A.J. Ellis deserves credit for helping the Dodgers' pitching staff become as dominant as it is. He works closely with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and every starting pitcher before games, sometimes when he's not even catching that day. On the other hand, there are two parts to his job and he has struggled at the plate lately. Ellis is batting .184 this month. He didn't hit a ball out of the infield in five at-bats Friday.
Stat of the game: It doesn't happen often. The five triples in one game set a Los Angeles Dodgers record. The most recent Brooklyn Dodgers five-triple game came in 1921.
Up next: The teams continue the three-game series Saturday night at 6:05 PT. Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.92 ERA) goes for the Dodgers while Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.99) pitches for San Francisco.