On a day the Dodgers looked positively helpless at the plate, Yasiel Puig hit his first career walk-off home run in the 11th inning to deliver a 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers struck out 20 times at the plate and managed just four hits before Puig's blast. The whiffs set a new franchise worst, two more than the previous mark set May 2, 1995 against San Francisco, in 15 innings. The Dodgers didn't get a runner to second base on Sunday until Juan Uribe doubled in the eighth inning.
Puig himself was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk before the 11th inning, and after his walk he was picked off trying to steal second base. But game-winning home runs have a way of erasing and making up for previous mistakes.
"It's a game we hung in there, and stole the series," said manager Don Mattingly after the game.
The win was the 23rd extra-inning, 1-0 victory by the Dodgers since moving to Los Angeles, and first since Aug. 12, 2011 against Houston.
The Dodgers have won eight of their last nine series and are 8-0-3 in their last 11 series.
Chris Capuano continued his up-and-down season, with Sunday falling decidely in the "up" category. He pitched scoreless ball into the seventh inning and struck out four. In seven starts since returning from the disabled list on June 19, Capuano has had four starts, including Sunday, with no runs and no walks allowed. In the other three starts, Capuano has allowed a total of 18 runs, 15 earned runs, in 12⅓ innings. It has been that way for most of the season, too.
In seven of Capuano's 13 starts he has allowed two total runs in 37⅔ innings with 33 strikeouts and just one walk.
In the other six starts, Capuano has allowed 38 runs in 29 innings, a 10.24 ERA, with 17 strikeouts and 14 walks.
After allowing a single in the first inning Capuano retired 13 straight. Dating back to Saturday night, Dodgers pitchers retired 34 of 35 Reds batters at that point.
But Tony Cingrani of the Reds matched Capuano and then some. In just his 12th major league start, the left-hander allowed just one hit and one walk while matching career highs with seven innings pitched and 11 strikeouts.
Both bullpens were excellent. Dodgers relievers didn't allow a hit in their 4⅓ innings of work, including a pair of scoreless innings by Brandon League, who won his third game in six days.
The Reds bullpen struck out nine in 3⅔ innings, though as rookie Curtis Partch allowed the home run to Puig the best Cincinnati reliever, Aroldis Champan watched, saved by manager Dusty Baker for a lead that never came.
The Dodgers took advantage, winning their seventh straight one-run game and their third straight game overall. The team is 9-1 since the All-Star break and is 26-6 to match the 1977 squad for the best 32-game stretch in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
Both Hanley Ramirez (1-for-4) and Mark Ellis (1-for-5) extended their hitting streaks to 10 games apiece on Sunday.
The Dodgers are off on Monday, the rare mid-homestand day off after playing 10 straight days after the All-Star break. The Yankees come to Dodger Stadium for two games, beginning Tuesday night with Zack Greinke and Andy Pettitte in the opener.
Home run: Yasiel Puig (10)
WP - Brandon League (6-3): 2 IP, 1 walk
LP - Curtis Partch (0-1): 1⅔ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts