Yasiel Puig just keeps on rolling
June, 30, 2013
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The summer of Yasiel Puig continued Sunday with seemingly no end in sight.
The Los Angeles Dodgers' rookie sensation had a career-best four hits with two singles, a double and a triple, finishing a home run shy of the cycle while also stealing two bases and scoring two runs.
His performance helped the Dodgers defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1, capping off a 6-1 homestand that pushed the Dodgers to within four games of first place in the National League West.
Just eight days ago the Dodgers were 9 1/2 games out of first place and 12 games under .500, and now the Dodgers are staring at possibly being .500 and in first place in the division by the All-Star break.
Their recent run has been sparked largely by the play of Puig and Hanley Ramirez, who extended his hitting streak to a season-long 12 games. He singled to left to score Puig in the fourth inning for the first run of the game and scored later in the inning on another single to left by Matt Kemp.
After Ramirez's RBI in the fourth, he was batting .500 since June 19 and leads the National League in batting average, hits (21), homers (five), RBIs (15) and on-base percentage since that time.
Sunday, however, much like it has been for the month of June, was all about Puig. The 22-year-old phenom has 44 hits this month, which is the most for a Dodgers rookie in a calendar month. It's also the second-most in major league history for a rookie, behind only Joe DiMaggio's 48 in 1936.
Puig's first month has been historically good. In fact, DiMaggio is the only other player in league history with at least 40 hits and four home runs in their first calendar month in the majors.
The Dodgers also got a solid outing from Stephen Fife, who went seven innings for the first time, giving up only four hits and striking out five. It was also Fife's first scoreless outing in the majors and his ERA since returning on June 3 is now 2.21.
As good as Fife was, the biggest star on the mound, however, might have been 22-year-old Jose Dominguez, who made his major league debut Sunday in relief of Fife. Scouts have raved about Dominguez since spring training and he didn't disappoint in his first outing since being called up Saturday. Dominguez threw 10 fastballs, with all but one hitting at least 99 mph on the radar gun, including a 101-mph fastball that struck out Delmon Young.