That’s more like it. About the quietest scoreless outing you can have by Zack Greinke and a 5-RBI night by Yasiel Puig snapped the Dodgers’ 4-game losing streak as they took down the Nationals on Tuesday night 5-0.
While Nationals’ starter Joe Ross was impressive early on, he didn’t account for the Puig factor.
In the fourth inning, Andre Ethier led off with a triple to left-center field. He was originally called out, but a replay review overturned the call. I know, I’m surprised too (even if it was clearly the wrong call, initially). Ethier stayed inside the fastball that was low and on the inner-half of the plate and drove it with authority to left-center field. It was vintage Ethier. Puig followed up by launching a 2-run home run off a hanging slider by Ross. Launched, you say?
Puig's HR: 435 feet, 108 MPH exit velo. #Dodgers
— Dustin Nosler (@DustinNosler) August 12, 2015
Yup. It was the hardest ball he had hit since July 31 and the hardest slider he had hit since July 17 (and the second-hardest all season). Hard, loud contact is never a bad thing, especially from Puig.
Joe Ross faced 102 right-handed batters in the big leagues before giving up his first extra-base hit to one. That's nuts.
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 12, 2015
That is nuts. Ross is going to be a good one, but he wasn’t tonight.
In the fifth, the Dodgers got back-to-back singles from Jimmy Rollins and natural No. 2 hitter Alberto Callaspo. Adrian Gonzalez and Ethier flied out in the next two at-bats. Yasmani Grandal walked to load the bases for Puig. While he didn’t hit it hard or that far, Puig came up with a bases-clearing triple to put the Dodgers up 5-0.
Admittedly, if Bryce Harper is playing right field instead of first baseman Clint Robinson, it’s probably just a harmless fly out to end the inning. But he wasn’t, and it wasn’t.
It’s no secret that Puig has struggled for a majority of the season, so it was nice to see him come up with a couple big hits. Perhaps this will help to spark him for the stretch run — as long as Don Mattingly continues to play him most days.
Puig hit a homer, so if the trend follows, Mattingly will bench him tomorrow.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 12, 2015
Oh. I imagine many on Dodger Twitter will have a fit if this happens (yours truly included).
Greinke made it through six innings with this line: 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 109 pitches, 71 strikes, 4/3 GO/AO. His velocity was pretty good (sat around 93 MPH), but he wasn’t as dominant as he was during his scoreless streak. I’m not complaining by any means — I’ll take six scoreless innings any way I can.
Luckily with a 5-0 lead, the bullpen wasn’t as big a factor as it would have been in a close game. Yimi Garcia made his return to the Dodgers with two scoreless innings of relief on 31 pitches. Luis Avilan pitched an uneventful ninth inning to finish the game on 10 pitches.
The Dodgers improve to 63-50 on the season and maintain their 2 1/2-game lead in the NL West. Clayton Kershaw (9-6, 2.51 ERA) opposes Jordan Zimmermann (8-7, 3.44) on Wednesday night in the rubber game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.