Puig runs around the bases on crazy play in 9th; Dodgers win
LOS ANGELES (AP) Yasiel Puig was wearing his ''Make Baseball Fun Again'' cap after Wednesday night's game.
Did he ever.
In a wild finish, Puig raced home for the winning run on his own single after center fielder Michael Taylor let the ball skip by him for a three-base error, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the Washington Nationals 4-3.
Puig broke into a sprint at first base after Taylor overran the rolling single to left-center field. Howie Kendrick scored easily from first base, and Puig dove home even though there was no throw to beat. The Dodgers have won six straight - five in comeback fashion - and completed a sweep of the NL East-leading Nationals.
This was just the second game back for Puig, who had been on the disabled list with an injured hamstring. He blew through a stop sign from third base coach Chris Woodward to get home, and asked what told him to go for home, Puig said: ''I was listening to my hamstring.''
Taylor was also 0 for 5 with five strikeouts from the leadoff spot.
''Very shocking,'' Taylor said. ''It's a groundball. I've got to make that play.''
''You have to catch it first,'' Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. ''He came in aggressively. That's not the issue. You have to come in aggressively if you're going to try to cut that run off ... from going to third. That was the tying run. That's what Michael was trying to do. It was a tough day for Michael, period. It was one of the toughest days that he'll remember, probably the rest of his career.''
Wilson Ramos hit a solo homer in the eighth off hard-throwing Pedro Baez to give Washington a 3-2 lead, but that was before Puig's heroics.
Puig, though sometimes mistake-prone, is always worth watching, and that showed Wednesday. He was pumping his arms en route to first base, celebrating his single before Taylor's whiff. His dive home seemed to start from the parking lot, and he said he did it to protect his hamstring.
''I had to throw myself like I was at the beach,'' Puig said laughing.
Puig's dash capped a game that began with a fantastic pitching duel between youngsters Joe Ross and Julio Urias. The Nationals' Ross allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. Corey Seager had three of the seven hits off Ross, including a solo homer in the third.
The 19-year-old Urias continued to impress for the Dodgers. The Mexican left-hander struck out six in five innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He left with the game tied at 2 and didn't get a decision. He has yet to get his first major league win.
''I feel more confident now and every time they let me know I'm in the rotation I feel a little more confident,'' Urias said. ''I'll continue to work.''
Chase Utley scored his 1,000th career run in the first on a wild pitch and got a curtain call for it. Utley became the 13th active player to reach 1,000 runs.
Wednesday was Nationals manager Dusty Baker's bobblehead night in Los Angeles, and the former Dodger caught the ceremonial first pitch from Tommy Davis.
Chris Hatcher (5-3) got one out in the ninth inning and the win.
Shawn Kelley (1-1) allowed the singles to Kendrick and Puig in the ninth.
Urias has drawn comparisons to former teenage phenom Fernando Valenzuela. Asked for his assessment, Baker said, ''Everyone is the next somebody. I was the next Hank Aaron, and you see what happened.''
The Warriors' Klay Thompson watched the game in first-row seats near the Dodgers' dugout. He was there wearing a Dodgers cap and cheering on his brother Trayce Thompson, who started in left field. Thompson was 0 for 4.
BACK IN THE BOOTH
Vin Scully was back in the Dodgers broadcast booth after missing Tuesday's game with a sore throat. The 88-year-old broadcaster is in his 67th and final season with the Dodgers.
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, who was scratched from his scheduled start Monday because of an upper back strain, threw on flat ground. The Nationals hope he makes his next scheduled start on Sunday.
Dodgers: Puig (strained left hamstring) was in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game after coming off the disabled list.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (8-4, 3.29 ERA) will pitch Friday in Milwaukee and is unbeaten in June. He struck out 10 in his last start against the Padres.
Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (6-4, 2.64 ERA) is the most likely starter for the Dodgers, who have an off day Thursday before starting a weekend series in Pittsburgh. The Dodgers are undecided on their weekend rotation but could keep Maeda on regular rest to start Friday or call up a pitcher from the minor leagues to make a spot start.