Dodgers insist Yasiel Puig is working to improve

Yasiel Puig made another baserunning mistake in the Dodgers' 4-2 defeat to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, but teammates and club officials insist the brash 22-year-old rookie is making efforts to become a better player.

Puig, who batted .139 over his previous nine games, was one of the first players to arrive to Dodger Stadium. He studied video of his recent at-bats and worked in the batting cage with hitting coach Mark McGwire.

"I wanted to see what I was doing wrong in my at-bats," Puig said.

If only for a day, the extra work produced results. Puig was two for three with a walk and a run.

However, Puig was doubled off at first base in the sixth inning when Mark Ellis lined out to right field. Puig said he was attempting to steal second base on the plate.

With the Dodgers down, 4-0, at the time, Manager Don Mattingly said, "It was something we didn't want to be doing."

Mr. Consistent

Adrian Gonzalez has driven in 80 or more runs in eight consecutive seasons. The only other players in baseball who have done that are Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers.

Gonzalez's 79th and 80th runs batted in came on an eighth-inning double.

"That's my job," Gonzalez said. "My job is to drive in runs. If I don't do that, I'll be mad at myself."

Gonzalez's two-run double came with two outs. He has been particularly dangerous in such situations this season, as he is hitting .435 (20 for 46) with two out and runners in scoring position.

"He always has a great plan at the plate," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "He spends more time in the video room checking out the guys he thinks he's going to face than anyone we have on the team. He hits to situations extremely well. He knows when it's time for a base hit, he knows when it's time to try to go for an extra-base hit. You feel really comfortable when Adrian's up any time, but especially when you have runners in scoring position."

Crawford sits

With the Dodgers facing left-hander Jon Lester, left-handed-hitting Carl Crawford was held out of the lineup.

Crawford is batting .238 against left-handers, compared with .311 against right-handers.

Of the last 11 games in which the Dodgers have faced a left-handed starter, Crawford has been out of the lineup eight times.

Mattingly said this is as much about health as it is about matchups.

"I want to take care of Carl from the standpoint of him being healthy the rest of the year," Mattingly said. "We found out with Carl that if you go too many days in a row, something ends up ailing him."

Crawford entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and drew a walk. He later scored on Gonzalez's double.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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