In a game where the Los Angeles Dodgers ' offense piled up 16 hits to halt their very brief skid, it was their star rookie who came up with the biggest one.
Yasiel Puig figures to get a few more chances to do some damage Wednesday.
A night after his tiebreaking pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning, Puig likely will be back in the starting lineup looking to support the red-hot Zack Greinke as the visiting Dodgers continue their four-game set with the Miami Marlins .
Puig has been a lightning rod lately for more than just the spectacular start to his career on the field, drawing criticism for poor throws from the outfield, baserunning mistakes, showing up umpires and a perceived brash attitude.
It was his 5-for-30 slump at the plate, though, that made Don Mattingly decide to give him a day off Tuesday - even before the Cuban outfielder's late arrival to Marlins Park that earned him a fine and a closed-door meeting with his manager.
Puig didn't just get to the ballpark fashionably late. He pinch hit for the second time this season with the score tied at 4 and promptly belted his first homer since Aug. 1, helping Los Angeles (73-52) avoid its first three-game skid since early June with a 6-4 win."We're always expecting something great," Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano said. "He's just got so much ability. He got a pitch and drove it, and what a spot to do it in. He doesn't seem like he feels too much pressure out there."
Mattingly admitted he looked at the benching as "a one-day thing," and said Puig was animated as usual in the dugout and didn't sulk about not starting."He's not a problem," Mattingly said. "Just a lot of stuff happens. He's not a guy I think about that much and worry about."
Though Puig's hit may have been the most significant, he was hardly alone in contributing to the victory. Mattingly was critical of the entire front of the Dodgers' lineup prior to Tuesday's game, then watched as his Nos. 1-6 hitters went a combined 12 for 28.
Los Angeles did leave 12 runners on base as it went 4 for 17 with runners in scoring position, but it might only need a run or two Wednesday if Zack Greinke (11-3, 3.02 ERA) continues his recent dominance. The right-hander hasn't allowed a run in 13 2-3 innings, going 7 1-3 in Friday's 4-0 win at Philadelphia to improve to 5-1 with a 1.45 ERA in his past eight starts.
That's the lowest ERA in baseball since July 8.
Greinke has a 1.01 ERA in his last four road starts after posting a 6.12 ERA in his first six. This will be his first start at Marlins Park, though he was 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his two previous visits to Miami.
The right-hander gave up six runs on three homers - including shots by Ramirez and Andre Ethier - in three innings of an 11-4 loss at Chavez Ravine on Aug. 24, an outing he matched in brevity Friday. Eovaldi was even worse at home against San Francisco, surrendering 11 runs in three innings of a 14-10 loss."I think this is the worst I've ever gotten hit," Eovaldi said. "Hopefully this won't happen a lot."
For the most part, it hasn't. Fifteen of the 28 earned runs he's allowed have come in two of his outings, and Eovaldi has delivered a quality start in the other nine.
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||3||.333||1||0||2||0||0||.333||.666||.333|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|August 04, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Jammed right shoulder|
|August 03, 2013||Yasiel Puig||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|July 30, 2013||Brian Wilson||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|July 30, 2013||Brian Wilson||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|July 23, 2013||Jose Dominguez||15-Day DL||Left quad strain|
|July 22, 2013||Matt Kemp||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||60-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
MIAMI (AP) -- Zack Greinke said he was merely trying to beat the Miami Marlins and not competing with teammate Clayton Kershaw .
Greinke allowed one run in eight innings and won his fourth start in a row Wednesday by pitching the Los Angeles Dodgers past Miami 4-1.
The right-hander improved to 12-3 and tied major-league ERA leader Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the team lead in victories. Greinke said there's no rivalry among the Dodgers pitchers, not even a friendly one.
"Kersh is on such another level that if you try to do better than him, you're going to get your feelings hurt," Greinke said.
Actually, Greinke has been tough to top lately, with an ERA of 0.41 over his past three starts.
With LeBron James watching from behind home plate, Greinke allowed Miami six hits, walked none and lowered his ERA to 2.91.
The Marlins' lone run came on a first-inning homer by Giancarlo Stanton . They had only one base runner against Greinke over his final 4 1-3 innings.
"They actually hit him a little bit early, and you saw him make a quick adjustment and start using a lot more curveballs," manager Don Mattingly said.
"It was kind of cool to watch him turn the page and throw more breaking balls and change speeds a lot more. All of a sudden he was getting quick innings."
Kershaw is scheduled to pitch the final game of the series Thursday. Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said he believes the team's starters do compete with each other, which makes them all better.
"They wouldn't be where they're at without a competitive nature," Honeycutt said. "There's a sense of pride. When Kersh goes out and sets the tone, Zack wants to go deeper in games."
While Greinke gave the Marlins fits, sloppy defense doomed them for the second night in a row. They committed a season-high three errors, including two in the Dodgers' three-run fourth inning.
Two Marlins errors led to two unearned runs in their 6-4 loss Tuesday.
"We've got to pick it up defensively. We're making way too many mistakes," manager Mike Redmond said. "We can't make a lot of mistakes, especially against such a good team."
Yasiel Puig was back in the Dodgers' starting lineup. He appeared to tweak his lower left leg in the early going and limped slightly at times but stayed in the game.
Puig went 0 for 5 and is batting .167 (7 for 42) over his past 11 games. The rookie sensation was back in right field after being held out of the starting lineup for one game because of his slump.
"He has some good swings, I thought," Mattingly said.
The announced crowd of 24,996 included Puig's friend, James, making his first visit to Marlins Park.
James sat next to one of the aquariums along the backstop and drew the night's biggest cheer when he was shown on the video scoreboard as Puig stepped to the plate.
"I think Puig thought it was for him," Redmond said. "That was kind of funny."
The Dodgers improved to 27-5 since the All-Star break, and they've won 21 of their past 24 road games. They're unbeaten in their past 18 series since mid-June.
Los Angeles had only seven hits and went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position. Much of the Dodgers' offense came from Hanley Ramirez , who had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run against his former team.
Aside from Stanton's homer, only two Marlins reached second base against Greinke, and one was picked off.
Kenley Jansen completed the six-hitter by pitching the ninth for his 21st save in 24 chances. He gave up a walk before center fielder Andre Ethier made a long run and caught Adeiny Hechavarria 's drive at the base of the wall to end the game.
That left the Marlins (48-77) back on pace to lose 100 games.
Ex-Dodger Nathan Eovaldi (2-4) hit 100 mph on the radar gun and allowed only two earned runs in seven innings. But he was again hurt by the poor run support that has plagued him this season, and fell to 0-4 in his past seven starts.
"I felt good," Eovaldi said. "Fastball command was there, off-speed stuff was there. I just had that bump in the road in the fourth inning."
Puig reached on a wild throw by third baseman Ed Lucas to start the fourth, and Los Angeles took advantage of the mistake.
Ramirez doubled home a run, Ethier put the Dodgers ahead with an RBI single, and Ramirez came home on a wild pickoff throw to first by Eovaldi to make the score 3-1.
Stanton's 16th homer in the first put the Marlins ahead 1-0. Their first two batters singled in the second, but Greinke pitched out of the jam.
Notes: Ethier had two hits to improve his career average against Miami to .395. ... Stanton had two hits and is 7 for 13 in the series. ... Greinke improved to 3-0 in five starts against the Marlins.