Yasiel Puig had by far his best game of the spring in Thursday's exhibition game against Team Australia, with a home run to left field and a strike from right field to highlight the Dodgers' 4-2 win in their final exhibition tune up before their opening series in Sydney.
Up 2-0 in the sixth inning, Team Australia threatened to add another run on a single to right field by Tim Kennelly. Mike Walker tried to score from second base but was thrown out by about 10 feet by Puig (GIF thanks to Chad Moriyama):
In the eighth inning, still down 2-0, the Dodgers relied on the only two starting position players still in the game to rally. A.J. Ellis walked to open the inning, but two strikeouts later the Dodgers were just four outs away from getting one-hit by a rag-tag group of mostly minor league Aussie pitchers.
That's when Puig, hitting .122/.136/.195 in the spring entering Thursday and 5-for-44 to this point, launched a ball over the left field wall off Matthew Williams:
Puig's first home run of the spring was the Dodgers' second hit of the game and, with two outs, tied the score at 2-2. Two walks, an error, a passed ball and a single later the Dodgers added two more runs for a 4-2 lead.
Don Mattingly told reporters before the game that he wanted to get eight innings out of non-roster pitchers Zach Lee and Red Patterson, and he nearly got his wish. Lee was solid for four innings, allowing one run with six strikeouts, while Patterson struck out four in his three innings, also allowing a single run.
Rule 5 man Seth Rosin allowed the tying runs to reach base but pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save. Six different Dodgers have recorded saves this exhibition season: Matt Magill with two and Sam Demel, Carlos Frias, Blake Smith, Tom Windle and Rosin one apiece.
Next time, it counts for both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks on Saturday, early morning Los Angeles time. The Dodgers will have a day off Friday, then will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound for his fourth straight Opening Day start in the first game Saturday, facing Wade Miley for Arizona.
Home run: Yasiel Puig (1)
WP - Red Patterson (1-1): 3 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Matthew Williams (0-1): ⅔ IP, 1 hit, 4 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Seth Rosin (1): 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts