Yasiel Puig homered and drove in two runs, leading the Dodgers over the Diamondbacks 3-1 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep of Arizona at Dodger Stadium.
The win, coupled with the Giants’ 6-5 loss in Colorado — entering the bottom of the ninth inning with a 5-3 advantage — extended the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West to five games, their largest lead of the year.
Arizona struck first with a run in the opening inning for a second straight night. Paul Goldschmidt, somehow held to 1-for-7 with a walk in the first two games of the series, hit a little pop fly to short right field with two outs, and it just trickled out of the glove of diving second baseman Charlie Culberson. The resulting double scored A.J. Pollock, who walked.
Like they did on Tuesday, the Dodgers answered back in the bottom of the first on Wednesday, this time with two runs.
Corey Seager’s double was the only hit of the inning, and it scored Howie Kendrick, who walked. A wild pitch advanced Seager to third base, and he scored on a sacrifice fly from Puig.
The double for Seager was his 39th, tying him with Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy for the National League lead. There have only been 22 times that a Dodger has hit 40 or more doubles in a season, including just 10 since the franchise moved west in 1958.
Puig wasn’t done, padding the Dodgers’ lead in the sixth inning with a solo shot off Robbie Ray.
It was Puig’s second home run in four games — three starts — since returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City, where it was still felt.
Watched Yasiel Puig's homer in Bill Haselman's office. He broke from conversation to openly cheer for ball to leave park. Still fan of Puig.— Jacob Unruh (@jacobunruh) September 8, 2016
Puig also walked in the game and since his return is 4-for-9 (.444) with two home runs, three walks and five RBI.
It hung a loss on Ray, who struck out 12 in his six innings while only allowing those two hits. But three runs came across and he also walked four. The Dodgers improved their record against left-handed starters to 18-19.
That first-inning run was all Brock Stewart would allow in his five innings. The fourth straight rookie starting pitcher for the Dodgers, Stewart held the Diamondbacks at bay with five hits and two walks in his five innings. He only struck out one, but picked up his first major league win, and has allowed just two runs in 13 innings in his last three appearances, all at home.
After Stewart, manager Dave Roberts mixed and matched the bullpen, using five pitchers to record six outs in the sixth and seventh innings. The key moment came with two outs in the seventh when, with first base open, Goldschmidt was walked to load the bases and lefty Grant Dayton brought in.
Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale countered by pinch hitting for the left-handed Jake Lamb in favor of Rickie Weeks, hitting .297/.384/.672 with six home runs in 73 plate appearances against southpaws this season. Dayton ran the count to 3-1, but came back to get Weeks swinging to end the inning, and extinguish Arizona’s final real threat.
Kenley Jansen retired the Diamondbacks in order in the ninth inning to earn his 43rd save of the season, one shy of his career high, set in 2014.
The Dodgers improved to 10-5 on the season against Arizona, including 7-2 at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers are off on Thursday, when they will fly to Miami to open a 10-game road trip. Clayton Kershaw will start the opener on Friday night against the Marlins, a mere 75 days after his last major league start. Jose Fernandez gets the call for Miami.
Home run: Yasiel Puig (9)
WP - Brock Stewart (1-2): 5 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
LP - Robbie Ray (7-13): 6 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (43): 1 IP