Yasiel Puig Walks Off, Slides In
Yasiel Puig had been scuffling in the game. Well all the Dodgers had been scuffling in the game — they set a franchise record with 20 strikeouts in this game.
The game was scoreless in the bottom of the 11th inning. Puig had three of those strikeouts. His other plate appearance before the 11th inning was a leadoff walk in the seventh inning. He was summarily picked off by Reds starter Tony Cingrani.
"They had been throwing me a lot of high pitches," Puig said about his day at the plate. He even looked frustrated at home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski's strike zone in the ninth inning.
"You have to put your at-bats behind you every single time," Puig said.
After missing on the first changeup Puig saw from reliever Curtis Partch, the second one hung out over the heart of the plate. You didn't have to look at the field to know that the ball was going to go out of the park.
As for the slide? Puig remembered a teammate getting injured at the scrum at the plate, "so I decided to slide."
Despite the 20 strikeouts, the Dodgers came up with the 1-0 win in 11 innings.
To get an 11-inning shutout requires an extraordinary effort from the pitching staff, and the Dodgers certainly got it.
Chris Capuano pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing only three hits and four strikeouts, quite the improvement from his last outing in Toronto when he gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
"I had good stuff in that game in Toronto," Capuano said. "I just wasn't finishing hitters very good. I was getting into two-strike counts, and then just making sub-standard pitches when I got ahead.
"Today I just tried to focus on continuing to make pitches and finishing guys when I got ahead."
Perhaps he got to puff his chest out even more since he got the first hit off of Cingrani? "I think I just got lucky there. I was able to keep my bat back and get a hit there."
The most notable pitching performance came from Brandon League who pitched the 10th and 11th innings allowing only a walk. It's the third time he's pitched two innings this week, it's the third win he's record this week (for whatever that stat is worth) and he continues to string together strong outings.
"Perserverance," League said about his struggles this season. "I've been working hard with Chuck [Crim, bullpen coach] and [Rick Honeycutt, pitching coach] on a lot of things this year and finally found something that clicked."
League made some tweaks to his mechanics but pointed to the two innings he pitched in Washington, DC on July 21 as a turning point. "I thought that was huge being able to use all of my pitches and getting a lot of work in."
The Reds came close to scoring the game's first run in the sixth inning after Devin Mesoraco led off with a double and went to third on Cingrani's sacrifice bunt. Reds manager Dusty Baker called the suicide squeeze play on the 0-1 pitch to Derrick Robinson who was barely able to get the bat on Capuano's curveball.
Instead Robinson's ground ball resulted in a rundown at the plate with Mesoraco, Juan Uribe to Tim Federowicz back to Uribe, Robinson standing at first and the game still scoreless.
With the Arizona Diamondbacks losing again, the Dodgers now hold a 2 1/2 game lead in the NL West. They will get the day off tomorrow before the Yankees come to town, but you already knew that.