LOS ANGELES (AP) After Yasiel Puig’s mother threw out the first pitch and 40,000 fans got his bobblehead doll, the slugger had his biggest game at the plate in quite a while.
Puig and the Los Angeles Dodgers realize their roster could look much different when they go back to work in two days, so they enjoyed what might have been this group’s last night together.
Pinch-hitter Kike Hernandez delivered the go-ahead, two-run double during the Dodgers’ five-run seventh inning, and Los Angeles rallied from a three-run deficit for a wild 10-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
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Puig hit a two-run homer and added an RBI single in the seventh for the Dodgers (57-45), who snapped their three-game losing streak and avoided falling out of first place for the first time in two months. Los Angeles is deep in trade discussions with the deadline approaching, but Puig and his teammates shut out the rumors in a cathartic win.
”It’s not distracting for me at all,” Puig said through a translator. ”I don’t even read in English.”
The last-place A’s scored four runs in the top half of the seventh to take a 6-3 lead, but Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal delivered run-scoring hits off Drew Pomeranz (4-4) before Hernandez drilled a double to the left-center gap in his first plate appearance since last Friday.
”They had the big inning, and we had to claw back,” Gonzalez said. ”We got a lot of good at-bats put together, and it was a big win.”
Puig’s second big hit capped his first three-RBI game since July 9. The Cuban right fielder, who often jokes around in Spanish, credited his improvement to his decision to start playing baseball video games instead of soccer video games.
”I’m going to talk to the Dodgers, see if they can have more bobblehead nights and get my mom to throw out the first pitch every night,” added a grinning Puig, who had two hits in his last eight games.
Howie Kendrick added a two-run single in the eighth for Los Angeles, which has been in first place since May 29 – and for all but one day since April 16. The Dodgers, who lead San Francisco by a half-game, are the only team in the majors without a four-game skid this season.
Pedro Baez (3-2) got two outs in the seventh.
Brett Lawrie had a ninth-inning homer among his career-high four hits and four RBIs for Oakland, which has lost five of six.
Lawrie and Eric Sogard drove in two runs apiece for the A’s in the seventh, but the Dodgers replied with a gritty two-out rally.
”We had good at-bats to come back and take a lead,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ”Then we got two outs and a 1-2 count on Kendrick in the seventh with no runs in. And the next thing you know, we didn’t have a lead anymore.”
Pomeranz gave up three hits and three runs without recording an out in the seventh.
”They’re a pretty aggressive team,” Pomeranz said. ”I left some balls over the plate, and they did what they’re supposed to do with them. We all have games like this, for whatever reason.”
Mike Bolsinger yielded eight hits and three walks over five innings as a late replacement for Clayton Kershaw, who was scratched earlier in the day with hip soreness.
Puig became the first Dodgers player to homer on his bobblehead night since Hanley Ramirez on April 30, 2013, when his drive barely got over the fence in left for his seventh homer. When Puig returned to the dugout, Gonzalez grabbed Puig’s head and shook it back and forth, bobblehead style.
Athletics: Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte will throw back-to-back rehab games for Triple-A Nashville this weekend, and could rejoin the A’s after that.
Dodgers: Kershaw felt soreness in his hip earlier in the week, so the club elected to hold back the NL MVP and Cy Young winner for two days.
Athletics: Chris Bassitt (0-3, 2.94 ERA) takes the Coliseum mound in the opener of a four-game series against Cleveland.
Dodgers: After a day off, Kershaw (8-6, 2.51 ERA) is expected to take his 29-inning scoreless streak into the Freeway Series opener against the Angels.