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Extra work pays off for Yasiel Puig

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig put in extra work on Thursday and it paid off in the form of a four-RBI night in the Dodgers' win over the Phillies.

Puig had an early batting practice session on the field at Dodger Stadium with hitting coach Mark McGwire at about 3 p.m., over four hours before the game started, more than an hour before Dodgers batting practice began, and before the clubhouse opened to reporters.

He lined a two-run double down the left field line in the fourth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Then he hit a two-run home run in the eighth, his first home run in just over four weeks.

"It was good, the ball down the line and obviously the home run," manager Don Mattingly said. "The fact that he came out and did some early work is good for him, and it paid off today."

Puig had only two RBI in his previous 24 games, hitting just .213/.300/.325 during that span. On Thursday, he tied a season high with four RBI.

On the season, Puig is hitting .278/.359/.457 with four home runs, 11 doubles and 14 RBI in 40 games on the year, a season that saw him miss 39 games on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain and saw him hampered by a busted blister on his left hand at the end of June.

"Things didn't start out great for me, with my hamstring injury then my hand," Puig said, through a translator. "Those are some setbacks, but I have to keep working hard and get past all these setbacks.

"I'm just going to keep coming in and working, and hopefully things will turn around."

Puig bristled at his perceived image, as a player who often doesn't put in extra work, if he shows up on time, that is.

"How will anyone read your stories if you guys can't tell whether I arrive late? You probably have to do that to get people to click on stories whether I arrive early or late," Puig said. "I come in everyday to work with [assistant hitting coach John] Valentin or McGwire. A lot of times that is hidden in the cages and you guys don't necessarily see that. You think I'm not out there working, but I'm in the cages. As long as those guys know that I put in the work, I'm okay."

Heavy-legged Ethier

Andre Ethier left the game after six innings with left quad tightness, but manager Don Mattingly said the move was more precautionary and done more to get Ethier three innings of rest so he could start on Friday night.

"He was a little heavy-legged, with a little bit of tightness in his quad."

Ethier was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and scored on Puig's double, then walked in the sixth inning and advanced to third on a double by Jimmy Rollins. Ethier was replaced in left field following the frame by Scott Van Slyke.

Up next

The Dodgers welcome the Brewers to town next for a three-game weekend set. Mike Bolsinger starts the series opener on Friday night, with Jimmy Nelson on the mound for Milwaukee.