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When the Dodgers were floundering in the regular season, Yasiel Puig provided the spark that turned their season around. Now, with L.A. struggling through the first two games of the National League Championship Series, it was Puig again who led the charge as the Dodgers took Game 3 of the NLCS 3-0, winning their first game of the series.
His RBI triple in the fourth inning gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead and gave Dodger Stadium a jolt of electricity with his celebration on third base. The colorful Puig also watched the ball from the plate with his arms in the air, a la Manny Ramirez when he hit a walk-off homer in the 2007 ALDS.
Unlike Manny’s, though, Puig’s ball stayed in the park. The show didn’t sit particularly well with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
“I’d like to see him run right away,” Mattingly told MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. “Obviously, he thought it was gone. I’ve been dealing with this all year. He’s just emotional and it’s areas we’ll work on.”
Puig did have a bit of a reason to celebrate. It was his first hit of the series after going hitless in his first 11 at bats against Cardinals pitching.
Puig’s triple came two batters after Adrian Gonzalez double home Mark Ellis to get the scoring started. The other L.A. run came in the eighth inning when Hanley Ramirez, who is fighting through his fractured rib, beat out an infield single, allowing Carl Crawford to score.
The three runs were plenty for Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu went seven strong innings, allowing just three hits and striking out four. The only real danger he faced all game was in the fifth inning when David Freese and Matt Adams led off with back-to-back singles.
“That was big,” Ellis said. “You don’t want to give them any momentum at all. We got a break. A smart baseball player made a mistake and I don’t think he’ll do that again.”
Adam Wainwright, who started for the Cardinals, did put his team in a position to win, but he just couldn’t get any offensive support. He made it through seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out five.
For the Dodgers, Game 3 wasn’t technically a must-win, but falling behind 3-0 in the best-of-seven would require an improbable comeback. The two teams will meet again in Chavez Ravine tonight for Game 4 with L.A. looking to even the series. Lance Lynn is getting the nod for the Cardinals while Ricky Nolasco will start for the Dodgers.
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