Dodgers unleash the hits in doubleheader against Giants but manage to only come up with a split


Yasiel Puig limped across the visitor’s clubhouse at AT&T Park and slumped into a chair. A protective wrap covered his left foot. The Dodgers were a few minutes removed from a 15-6 victory over the Giants in the first game of a doubleheader and a few hours away from an 8-3 defeat in the nightcap. In between, Puig awaited a date with an X-ray machine.

As Puig started to eat lunch, a member of the training staff stopped by. The appointment would not take long, the trainer said. They could walk to the machine and come back. Puig looked puzzled.

“Walk?” he said. The prospect did not appeal to him. The actual exam revealed only a bruise on his ankle, the product of a foul ball in the first game’s second inning. The Dodgers did not place Puig on the disabled list, but they executed a roster move to protect the depth of their suddenly creaky outfield.


The injury to Puig hastened the promotion of Alex Verdugo, the team’s top position player prospect. The Dodgers had already flown Verdugo into the Bay Area as insurance after Matt Kemp experienced tightness in his quadriceps on Friday. With Puig joining Kemp on the bench, Verdugo was activated and placed into the starting lineup for the nightcap.

In the morning, manager Dave Roberts indicated Kemp would start on Saturday night. In between games, Roberts reiterated Kemp would play. But Kemp was not in the lineup for the finale.

The roster shuffling added some intrigue to an already eventful afternoon. The Dodgers (12-14) provided rookie Walker Buehler with his first victory as a starting pitcher by mashing 20 hits. Chase Utley matched a franchise record with three doubles. Joc Pederson drove in four runs. Cody Bellinger drove in three.

The offensive onslaught did not carry over in the second game. After a two-run homer by Corey Seager off Giants starter Johnny Cueto, the Dodgers went cold. In the fifth, Alex Wood gave up four hits, including a three-run double by No. 8 hitter Austin Jackson. Wood gave up another run in the sixth as he took the loss. Daniel Hudson gave up two more runs in the seventh on a double by San Francisco third baseman Evan Longoria.

“You play a great game earlier today, and you kind of feel like it’s all piecing together early,” Wood said. “And then you have that stuff happen in the fifth.”

The bullpen proved disastrous all day long. During the day game, Pedro Baez gave up a three-run homer and Josh Fields gave up another homer. The team does not have many replacements lined up in the minors.

“These are our guys,” Roberts said. “They’re going to keep getting opportunities. For them to come in and throw up zeros, we need it. To play games close and lose them late, it’s tough. It’s tough.

“Our guys keep fighting back, but they’re in a little bit of a slump right now.”

The afternoon was much more productive at the plate. The Dodgers mauled Giants starter Chris Stratton and booted him from the game after he collected only four outs. The offense scored three runs against San Francisco reliever Roberto Gomez and six more against right-handed pitcher Derek Law. The only Giant capable of defusing the Dodgers offense was an unlikely choice.

It was Pablo Sandoval, the rotund third baseman, who handled the ninth inning of the matinee. His presence roused the crowd. Sandoval recorded three swift groundouts. His fastball touched 89 mph and he threw almost as many curveballs as heaters. He was more effective than several Dodgers relievers in recent days.

“Sometimes it’s amazing how certain people can make the game look easy,” Roberts said. “It was a big inning for them. They needed that.”

Before Sandoval arrived, the Dodgers could do little wrong at the plate. They provided Buehler with a significant margin for error. Buehler swung a bat in the game before he threw a pitch, as the Dodgers batted around against Stratton in the first inning. Buehler looked unsteady at the start, as he needed 34 pitches to complete the bottom of the frame.

Buehler permitted a leadoff single to outfielder Gregor Blanco and walked outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Blanco scored on a single by Sandoval. Buehler spiked a curveball in the dirt which Austin Barnes could not contain behind the plate. McCutchen scored on the wild pitch. Buehler managed to escape, but he remained unsatisfied with his efficiency.

“It’s a learning curve, a learning experience,” Buehler said. “I felt good that I settled in.”

After the first inning, Buehler did not allow a Giant to reach second base. He retired 13 of the last 16 he faced. He struck out six.

The Dodgers have not revealed the next assignment for Buehler. He was called up on Saturday as the 26th man for the doubleheader. He will likely be sent back to class-A Rancho Cucamonga to stay nearby the big-league team, should they require his service.

It is unclear how long Puig will stay out of the lineup. He suffered a pair of injuries on Saturday, through the bruised foot was considered the more troubling of the two.

Puig made a crucial catch in Saturday’s first inning, ranging into foul territory to secure the final out for Buehler. The left shoulder and hip of Puig collided with the wall and he hit the deck. Roberts ran onto the field to check on his player. Roberts was the only member of the Dodgers staff to visit Puig as he lay prone in the dirt. The duo walked back to the dugout together.

Puig made the final out in the bottom of the second. On the first pitch of the at-bat, he re-directed a 95.8-mph sinker from Giants reliever Roberto Gomez onto his foot. He limped through the rest of the at-bat before leaving the game.

Puig has performed below expectations this season. He suffered some poor luck in the early days of April, but has remained in a sizable slump. He is hitting .193 with a .500 on-base plus slugging percentage.

As he sat on the couch in the visitors’ clubhouse, Puig maintained his sense of humor. He indicated he thought his foot was bruised, but he was unsure because “I can’t see it, because it’s the same color as me.” Puig was unsure how much time off he required.

“It hurts a little bit,” he said through his interpreter, Jesus Quinonez. “But God willing, I can get better.”

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes