The polarizing Puig already had the internet in a frenzy after a dumbfounding baserunning mistake prevented the Dodgers from winning the game in the ninth inning. Puig froze at second base on A.J. Ellis' sacrifice bunt toward third with no outs. Ellis stopped running to first base on the play with his hands to his head when he saw Puig fail to advance.
"I was shocked," Roberts said several times. "That's kind of how this game works. Crazy play, a lot of things you don't see ever really happen. Obviously, it's a play he'd like to take back. For him to get another opportunity to break it open was huge for him, as well as us."
Of course, to see Puig on the mound would have been the Cut4 of all Cut4s. As it was, his bases-loaded two-run single in the top of the 17th was the go-ahead hit in a four-run rally that started with Howie Kendrick's third extra-base hit and made a winner out of Ross Stripling. It was Puig's third hit of the game.
"I got confused," Puig said of the baserunning gaffe. "I had to do something to help the team when I didn't run after the bunt. If they tell me to pitch or catch, I'll do whatever they want to help the team."
Stripling, the losing pitcher Thursday night in Anaheim and the previously scheduled starter for Tuesday night, was pressed into duty as the ninth and winning pitcher in the five-hour, 47-minute marathon. Stripling threw three innings on two days' rest and won't be starting Tuesday night. He followed J.P. Howell, who also pitched three scoreless innings. The team has not announced Tuesday's starter.
"This was great on a lot of levels," said Ellis, who went the distance behind the plate with Yasmani Grandal nursing a bruised foot. "The manner in which we did it, contributions we got from unlikely people. We can build a lot of confidence going forward. Team wins like this can spur things going forward. It's up to us to recognize that and use the momentum going into the Cincinnati series."
The win included homers by Kendrick and Justin Turner (pinch-hit) and it snapped a four-game losing streak.
Ellis also was gracious about Puig's baserunning.
"We all have moments of mental errors," he said. "The thing that's great for Yasiel, and all of us, is to learn from it and be aware when in that situation again. I'm happy for him to come up and get the big hit and make the bottom of 17th less stressful."
After a five-inning start from Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers bullpen pitched 12 innings, the only run allowed by closer Kenley Jansen. He suffered his second consecutive blown save, again off the bat of Melvin Upton Jr., this time on an eighth-inning tying triple. Upton slugged a walk-off homer off Jansen Friday night.
The Dodgers, already one position player short going into the game to carry an eighth reliever, used Monday night starter Clayton Kershaw and Grandal to pinch-hit. They didn't use that eighth reliever,