Puig’s 2-run single lifts Dodgers past Phillies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yasiel Puig is just 22
years old, and already has established himself as one of the most
dangerous hitters in the major leagues — as well as a role model for
his teammates who enjoy his gung-ho style in the outfield and on the
base paths.

Puig singled home the tying and go-ahead
runs in the seventh inning, Andre Ethier had a two-run double, and the
Los Angeles Dodgers opened a four-game series against the Philadelphia
Phillies with a 6-4 victory on Thursday night.

“He kind of reminds me of myself,”
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said of the Cuban rookie sensation.
“Sometimes he plays too hard, and sometimes you have to tell him: `Man,
calm down. You can’t make every play.’ But he’s done an amazing job in
his first month in the big leagues. He’s gotten big hits and made big
plays on defense. He’s doing a lot, and I think we’re just feeding off
the kid.”

Zack Greinke (4-3) struck out five over
seven innings and allowed four runs on 12 hits, including solo homers by
Domonic Brown and Chase Utley, to help the Dodgers get their
season-best sixth straight win.

Puig was shaken up crashing into the
right field auxiliary scoreboard while trying to track Utley’s ninth
homer in the top of the seventh that put Philadelphia ahead 4-3.
However, Puig was none the worse for wear — as he proved moments later.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the
bottom half against rookie reliever Justin De Fratus (2-2) without the
benefit of a hit. A.J. Ellis walked and Juan Uribe reached on a bunt
that first baseman Ryan Howard tried to field before slipping and
falling on the play. Nick Punto advanced the runners with another bunt,
and Hanley Ramirez drew an intentional walk while batting for Greinke.

Skip Schumaker was called out on
strikes for the second time, but Puig slapped an 0-2 pitch to left field
to put the Dodgers ahead 5-4.

“He was ready to hit, so my plan there
was to slow him down and try to use his aggressiveness against him,” De
Fratus said. “It worked on the first two pitches. I didn’t think I threw
a bad pitch on the next one, but it wasn’t where I was trying to get it
and he burned me.”

Puig is batting a robust .427 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in just 23 big league games.

“His energy just feeds into all of us,”
Ellis said. “We all dream and wish we could play the way he’s playing,
and it makes us want to play better. It’s an energy and a way to play
the game that you don’t see too much. When he crashed into the fence, I
just wanted to see him pop back up. I love his aggressiveness and love
him trying to make a play right there.”

Kemp, playing in his third game after
missing a month with an injured right hamstring, was 2 for 4 with an RBI
double. He led off the eighth with a single, then stole second and
third base and scored on Ellis’ sacrifice fly.

“I’ve got to test it out. I can’t play
timid. I’ve got to play aggressive,” Kemp said of the hamstring. “That’s
the way I’ve always been and the way I have to play. He wasn’t paying
too much attention when I was on second base, so I tried to take a
chance right there. I’m tired of not making the playoffs, so my biggest
thing is trying to help my team get there in any way. I feel good. I
guess I’ve got them young Puig legs.”

Kenley Jansen followed J.P. Howell and
Ronald Belisario out of the bullpen and got the last three outs for his
seventh save in nine chances.

Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone
threw 96 pitches through six innings and was lifted for a pinch-hitter
after giving up three runs and four hits. The right-hander retired his
final 15 batters.

Pettibone found himself trailing 3-0
after just 17 pitches. Kemp hit an RBI double inside third base, and two
more runs came in on Ethier’s double. Right fielder Delmon Young
prevented another run, sprinting toward the corner and stretching out to
grab Ellis’ extra-base bid.

Young tied a career high with four hits — all singles — and put himself within seven of 1,000 for his career.

Brown, in his first career at-bat
against Greinke, put Philadelphia on the board in the second when he
drove a 3-2 fastball to center for his 21st homer and tied Colorado’s
Carlos Gonzalez for the NL lead. Greinke then gave up a single to Young
and a walk to Kevin Frandsen before picking off Young at second base.

The Phillies tied it 3-all in the fifth
with four consecutive one-out hits, including run-scoring singles by
Utley and Jimmy Rollins — only his second RBI in 10 games.

“Zack probably didn’t have his best
stuff, but he just competed,” Ellis said. “That’s a tough lineup. I
mean, they match up all those tough lefties at the top and they have a
good mix of players with a lot of professional hitters. But Zack held on
and gave us a chance.”

Former Phillies C Darren Daulton, who played for their 1983 NL
championship team and spent the majority of his 15 big league seasons
with them, was diagnosed with two brain tumors and will undergo surgery
next week. The announcement was made Thursday in a statement by the
radio station in Philadelphia that has broadcasted his program, “Talking
Baseball with Dutch,” for the past four years. … Two days after UCLA
captured its first College Baseball World Series title, most of the
players from the team were introduced one-by-one along the first base
line just before the start of the game. At the end of the line were two
former Bruins who played for the Dodgers — Tim Leary and Todd Zeile,
whose son Shane is a catcher of the current squad. … Utley, who also
played for UCLA, has six home runs and a .320 average in 31 career games
at Dodger Stadium. He was 3 for 5 Thursday. … Frandsen started at 3B
for the third time this season in place of Michael Young, who didn’t
start after playing in 21 consecutive games and starting in 20 of them.
… Kemp is 9 for 9 on stolen base attempts.