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Friday, June 7, 2013
Quick take: Dodgers 2, Braves 1 (10)

By Mark Saxon


LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig didn't win this one outright. He only facilitated it.

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1 in the 10th inning on Anthony Varvaro's wild pitch, pinch runner Skip Schumaker scoring easily as the ball skipped away from Evan Gattis.

Not that Puig didn't play his part as he continues to command more and more respect.

In only his fifth major league game, Puig got the superstar treatment. With a couple of bases open in the eighth inning, the Braves elected to intentionally walk Puig, one of the hottest hitters in the game since, oh, about March 1.

It worked. Mark Ellis popped up to leave the go-ahead run stranded at third.

Earlier, Puig became the second player since 1900 to hit four home runs in his first five games. The other guy, Mike Jacobs, did it for the New York Mets in 2005. The Dodgers have higher aspirations for Puig. Jacobs is now playing at Triple-A. In less than a week, Puig has moved into a tie (with Andre Ethier) for third place on the Dodgers in home runs.

Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu's biggest problem was Paul Maholm, Atlanta's soft-throwing left-hander who bedeviled the Dodgers all night, forcing them to beat balls into the grass.

Of Maholm's 22 outs, 12 of them came on the ground and three of them resulted in double plays. The Dodgers managed only three hits while Maholm was in the game.

The Dodgers' lineup had been, as usual, grinding its way through the game while the opposing pitcher ground their bats into sawdust. Puig, the dynamo who has jolted this season back to life, jolted a game to life. He caught a hanging breaking ball from Maholm and ripped it into the left-field stands in the sixth inning. Puig had attempted to bunt for a hit on the previous pitch, but missed it.

Ryu has been the epitome of a reliable No. 3 starter lately, going deep into virtually every game and putting up a 1.51 ERA since early May. Coupled with what they've seen from Clayton Kershaw and, lately, Zack Greinke, the Dodgers could be forming some nice pitching continuity.

The offense -- aside from Puig -- is an entirely different matter.