Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 1: Strategy fails as Puig's homer sinks Arizona

2014-04-21T00:00:00Z Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 1: Strategy fails as Puig's homer sinks ArizonaThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 21, 2014 12:00 am  • 

LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks intentionally walked hot-hitting Adrian Gonzalez with first base open to get to Yasiel Puig. That didn’t work out — nor did Miguel Montero’s ill-fated decision to test Puig’s arm in right field.

Puig hit a three-run homer off Josh Collmenter during a four-run fourth inning and threw out Montero trying to stretch a single into a double in the second — just two reasons why the Diamondbacks lost 4-1 to the Dodgers on Sunday in the rubber game of the third series this month between the NL West rivals.

“I think we did the right thing there,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We decided to put him on and go for Puig. Just thought that if we made better pitches, we had a better chance of getting him out. Also, you have the forceout at second base if you need it, too. He made us pay for it.”

Montero, the Diamondbacks’ catcher, defended the decision.

“It’s definitely not an easy choice,” he said. “They’ve got a good lineup from top to bottom, so you have to think about who you have to pitch around because they’re all pretty good hitters. I thought it was a good pitch that we made on Puig, but he just put a good swing on it. We wanted to come inside on him.”

Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a second-inning double. In last week’s three-game series at Phoenix, he was 7 for 14 with three homers and 10 RBIs.

“I think you have to walk Adrian, the way he is swinging and what he did to them last weekend,” Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly said. “That’s the danger of walking a guy. But you do it for the right reason, and I think Gibby would do it every time. The danger is extra motivation, but it’s really the right move.”

Collmenter (0-2) allowed four runs and five hits over six innings. Carl Crawford drove in the first run with a triple into the right field corner — his first of the season and 118th triple of his career, the most among active players.

Puig, who hit 19 home runs last year as a rookie after coming up to the Dodgers in June, lined his second of the season over the fence in left-center and flipped his bat after connecting with Collmenter’s 0-1 pitch.

“He did what he had to do,” Puig said through a translator. “Adrian is left-handed and a right-handed pitcher, the manager made the right call on that one. But I prepared well for that at-bat. I guess if I hit a home run, it was the wrong decision.”

Puig entered Sunday with two hits in four previous at-bats against Collmenter.

“It was a pitch I needed to make a couple of inches off the plate in, and instead, it came back over the plate a little bit,” the right-hander said.

“That’s really the only pitch I’d like back out of the whole thing. I felt really good, even going into that at-bat against Puig. We had a game plan as to what we wanted to do, and just lack of execution on my part.”

Dodgers starter Josh Beckett pitched five innings of one-hit ball, striking out seven and walking two, but settled for his third no-decision in three starts.

Beckett threw 83 pitches and allowed only a leadoff single to right field in the second by Montero, who tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out by Puig.

“Obviously, I’m not the fastest guy in the world, but he had to make a perfect throw,” Montero said.

“I could have done a better job going around first base, but I took too wide a turn and lost a couple of steps. Even though I was thrown out, I thought I was safe. But it’s a tough call for the umpire. The ball beat me. And when the ball beats you, you’re pretty much out.”

Jamey Wright (1-0) got three outs for his 93rd career victory, spread over 19 big-league seasons and 10 different clubs.

Chris Perez relieved Wright in the seventh with two on and none out. He retired his first batter, then gave up an RBI double by Eric Chavez. But Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth for his seventh save and fifth against the Diamondbacks.

Inside pitch

• Arizona center fielder A.J. Pollock left the game because of tightness in his neck.

• For the second time in this series, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt was awarded first base on catcher’s interference against Tim Federowicz.

• The Diamondbacks’ upcoming four-game series at Chicago will give Arizona pitching coach and former Cub Mike Harkey the opportunity to be at Wrigley Field on Wednesday when the ballpark’s 100th anniversary is celebrated. Harkey was the fourth overall pick by the Cubs in the 1987 draft and made his first 71 big-league starts for them.

• Sunday was Mattingly’s 53rd birthday.

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