“The triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Homeruns win a lot of games, but I never understood why fans are so obsessed with them.”- Hank Aaron
The Dodgers won the series opener on Friday night at AT&T Park in grand style. Yasiel Puig became the first Dodger with three triples in a game in 113 years. The Dodgers also tied their franchise record of five triples in a game (8/23/1902 and 7/7/1921).
Records were broken. Giants fans’ hearts were broken. It was a great old time! Not only did Puig collect 4 hits (3 triples and a double), but he also made a fine play in center field which showcased his speed and range. I have been calling for the Dodgers to play Puig in center field for months now, and it looks like everyone is finally on board.
The Dodgers clobbered the Giants, and the Tim Lincecum meltdown warmed my heart. Almost forgotten in all the triples was that Zack Greinke pitched a stupendous 7 shutout innings and only allowed 4 hits to San Francisco, and he recorded a four-strikeout inning in the bottom of the third. The shutout was preserved until the bottom of the ninth when Paul Maholm surrendered a run to the Giants, but let’s just get to the good stuff, shall we?
Dodgers 8 15 0
Giants 1 7 0
WP- Greinke (12-6)
LP- Lincecum (9-7)
Dee Gordon continues to struggle against Lincecum, and he strikes out against The Freak to begin the heated game at AT&T (Gordon is now 1-for-17 against Lincecum). Yasiel Puig, center fielder, proceeds to crush a ball to center field for a triple! A fan seems to have interfered with the ball in play, and one of the umpires had called it a homerun originally. The call will draw a review. The umpires decide that it is in fact a triple. Bruce Bochy will come out to argue now that it was fan interference, but no such luck for San Francisco. Adrian Gonzalez then promptly singles in Puig, and the Dodgers take an early 1-0 lead. Hanley Ramirez strikes out looking, and he stands at the plate shaking his head no briefly. Carl Crawford flies out to left to end the inning.
Other than a two-out walk to Buster Posey, Zack Greinke takes care of the Giants in the home half of the first easily.
Michael Morse flies out to left. Brandon Crawford strikes out giving Zack Greinke his first strikeout of the game. Dan Uggla, making his debut with the Giants, flies out to left field to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Yasiel Puig doubles to center field with two outs. Puig is a single and a homerun away from a cycle. We are in the third inning. Hector Sanchez is hit hard in the front of his catcher’s mask with a Adrian Gonzalez foul ball, and he is visibly shaken up. He stays in for now, and Gonzo grounds out to second to end the frame.
Greinke strikes out the side in the third even though Hunter Pence reaches first on a wild pitch which goes by A.J. For good
measure, Greinke strikes out Gregor Blanco for his fourth whiff of the frame!
The Giants have to make some defensive changes before the fourth. Sanchez, who got hit hard with a Gonzo foul, comes out of the game. Posey moves from first to behind the plate. Michael Morse moves from left field to first base, and Tyler Colvin will come in to the game to play left field. Hanley Ramirez is called out on strikes for the second time. Linceum has fanned 6 Dodgers, and Greinke has struck out 5 so far. CC grounds out. Matt Kemp flares a two-out single to center. Uribe pops out to first.
Pablo Sandoval singles inside third down the line with one out in the bottom of the fourth. That’s the first hit of the night for the Giants against Greinke. Morse singles on a chopper which gets past Uribe. Hanley makes a nice stop while backing him up, but his desperate throw to first is not in time. The Giants have two on and one out. Greinke strikes out Crawford looking for the second out. Uggla grounds into a force out, and the Giants strand their two runners.
The Dodgers give the Giants a lesson in triple down economics in the fifth. Greinke singles to center with one out in the fifth. That’s Zack’s sixth base hit of the year. Then Dee Gordon and Yasiel Puig proceed to hit back-to-back triples! Gordon drives home Greinke, and Puig brings in Dee. Gonzalez singles in Puig, and the Dodgers score three runs on four consecutive hits off Lincecum and lead 4-0. Ramirez singles for the fifth consecutive Dodger hit, and Bruce Bochy will have to take out Lincecum after the sudden meltdown. Juan Gutierrez will come in from the Giants bullpen. CC lines out to Morse. Kemp comes up with the THIRD TRIPLE of the inning, a shot off the center field wall! The Dodgers take a commanding 6-0 lead.
Tim Lincecum pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed 6 runs on 9 hits with 6 strikeouts and no walks on 85 pitches.
Other than a lead-off single by Colvin, the Giants go down without much of a fight in the bottom of the fifth.
Dee Gordon steals his 46th base of the season in the sixth after legging out an infield single with two outs. Then Puig proceeds to this his THIRD triple of the game, and the FIFTH triple of the night for the Dodgers! Dee saunters home, and the Dodgers lead 7-0.
Greinke strikes out the side again in the bottom of the sixth. Sandoval singles with two outs, but Morse’s whiff ends the scoreless frame.
Kemp singles with one out in the top of the seventh off Gutierrez, but the right-hander is able to fend off the triple machine which is the Dodgers… for now.
Greinke shuts the Giants down in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Zack Greinke pitched 7 innings and allowed no runs on 4 hits with 10 strikeouts and 1 walk on 106 pitches.
George Kontos comes out of the San Francisco bullpen to take over for Gutierrez in the eighth. Andre Ethier, pinch-hitting for Zack Greinke, leads off with a walk. Dee Gordon singles for his third hit of the night. The Giants are finally able to retire Puig on a long fly ball to center field. Ethier is able to tag up and advance to third. Gonzo flies out. Hanley singles in Ethier for the eighth Dodger run of the night.
Chris Perez will take over on the mound for Greinke in the bottom of the eighth. He can’t possibly blow an eight-run lead, can he? Puig finally gets to make a play in center for the first time as he records an out on a Hunter Pence fly ball. Perez actually pitches a 1-2-3 inning! Well, I’ll be.
The Dodgers go down 1-2-3 in the ninth.
Paul Maholm will take over in the bottom of the ninth for the Dodgers as they go for the shutout win. Puig makes a nice running catch on a fly ball by Buster Posey for the first out. Joaquin Arias draws a walk, and Joe Panik singles. Brandon Crawford also singles, and the bases are suddenly loaded for the Giants. Maholm rears back to strike out Adam Duvall. Tyler Colvin singles to right, and the Giants notch a run and stave off the shutout. Tony Abreu flies out to Puig for the final out.
The Dodgers improve to 57-47, and they pull within a 1/2 game of the first-place Giants. Saturday night will feature Clayton Kershaw versus Ryan Vogelsong for Game 2 as the Dodgers go for their rightful spot at the top of the NL West.