Puig, Wood power Dodgers past Braves
ATLANTA (AP) — It didn’t Yasiel Puig too long to get his home run swing back.
“I’m so happy to be back with the team and help the team win today and do something with the bat,” he said. “Today I helped do something in the game and I feel good. I thank God for bringing me back at 100 percent.”
Puig homered and drove in three runs following his return from the disabled list, Alex Wood pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings to win his sixth straight decision and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the struggling Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Saturday night.
Reinstated after missing 15 games with a right oblique strain, Puig made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly in the second off Max Fried and pushed the lead to 3-0 in the sixth with his 12th homer , a towering shot off Luke Jackson that bounced off the third-level scoreboard facade in left field.
Wood (7-5) allowed one hit and four walks with five strikeouts. His performance followed Rich Hill’s seven scoreless innings Thursday and Clayton Kershaw’s one run allowed in 7 2/3 innings Friday against an Atlanta offense that led the NL for most of the first half of the season.
The Braves, second in the NL East, have lost four straight and 13 of 18 mostly because their bats have been quieted. They’ve averaged 2.2 runs over their last 13 defeats and have dropped to fifth in NL runs scored. Johan Camargo accounted for Atlanta’s offense with a homer off Caleb Ferguson in the seventh.
“We’re having a hard time kind of getting anything flowing at all, any rhythm in the at-bats, anything moving, the whole thing,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I wish I had the magic answer to make it happen, but you don’t. That’s why you have to keep playing and grinding. One day it will.”
Puig hit the Dodgers’ 143rd homer, tops in the NL for the West Division leaders.
“He fouled some balls off, spoiled some good pitches on a couple that he should’ve handled but kept going,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “He got a breaking ball out over, and that was a big hit. That was good for him and to get back in the swing of things and get a big lift for us.”
Wood stranded a runner in scoring position in the first and second as he improved to 6-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his last seven starts since he lost at home to the Braves on June 9.
“I really feel like it’s almost come together as a whole for our staff all at the right time,” Wood said. “We’re starting to head down the stretch and hopefully we can continue to have outings like that.”
He didn’t get a chance to face Tyler Flowers with two runners on in the sixth. Flowers began the game with seven hits and eight RBIs in 11 career at-bats against Wood, so Roberts brought in J.T. Chargois. Flowers struck out.
Los Angeles led 1-0 in the second when Enrique Hernandez singled and scored on Puig’s sacrifice fly. They went up 5-1 in the ninth on RBI singles by Chris Taylor and Manny Machado.
Fried (1-4) allowed one run, two hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in five innings. He was reinstated from the disabled list after missing 14 games with a left middle finger blister.
Machado went 2 for 3 and walked twice to extend his career-best on-base streak to 28 games. It’s the second-longest active streak in the majors and dates to June 27. He’s hitting .352 over that stretch.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said 2B Ozzie Albies was held out of the lineup on a scheduled night off to rest his right hamstring. Injured last week at Washington, Albies missed four games. He returned Thursday and went 1-for-8 with four strikeouts over the next two games. He singled as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, and Snitker plans to have him back in the lineup Sunday. The 21-year-old Albies, an All-Star in his first full seasons in the majors, is one of two NL players with 20 homers and 10 stolen bases.
Los Angeles optioned OF Alex Verdugo to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Puig on the roster. ... Atlanta optioned OF Preston Tucker to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Fried.
Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (8-2, 2.43 ERA) allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of his last start, a no-decision that the Dodgers won last Monday at Philadelphia.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (9-5, 3.41 ERA) gave up one run and four hits in six innings of his last start, a victory last Monday at Miami. He had lost each of his previous three starts, posting a 9.75 ERA in 12 innings.
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