ATLANTA -- Yasiel Puig came off the disabled list just the way the Dodgers had hoped on Saturday night.Puig slugged a three-run homer, hit a sacrifice fly, walked and scored twice in the Dodgers' 5-1 win over the Braves. Having homered in his last two games before being injured, he's
ATLANTA -- Yasiel Puig came off the disabled list just the way the Dodgers had hoped on Saturday night.
Puig slugged a three-run homer, hit a sacrifice fly, walked and scored twice in the Dodgers' 5-1 win over the Braves. Having homered in his last two games before being injured, he's homered in three consecutive games and has 12 on the season. The Dodgers have homered in seven consecutive games and have 14 in nine games on the trip that ends on Sunday.
Before Saturday night's game, manager Dave Roberts said Puig would need to produce to stay in the lineup. He had just been activated after missing three weeks with a strained right oblique, and his return led to the optioning of top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, who had gone 5-for-16 with a homer in his latest callup.
"I'm just so happy I can help my team win today and do something at the bat," said Puig. "They were winning every game before, and today I helped and I feel good and thank God I come back 100 percent."
While Puig had been sidelined, the Dodgers moved into first place. Roberts said it's sometimes good for a player to see that his team can win without him, as the potential for obsolescence can be a motivator.
"I don't want to speak for Yasiel, but I'm going to," said Roberts. "No player wants to go on the disabled list. But it is a positive thing to always see the team, the operation continues to move on without anyone. No one player is greater than the whole sum and that's healthy for everyone. The game keeps going and it's good when you keep winning."
Puig was injured on July 8 when the Dodgers were one game out of first. Since then, the club is 11-5 and leads the division by 1 1/2 games.
Puig wasn't part of the manager's media scrum, but he must have gotten the message. He drove in the first run of the game with the sacrifice fly, slugged a 2-2 slider from Luke Jackson 419 feet for the homer and earned postgame praise from Roberts.
"That homer was a really good at-bat," said Roberts. "Fouled some pitches off that he should have handled, but kept going. Got a breaking ball out over and it was a big hit for him to get back in the swing of things. Also loved the walk, a quality at-bat. He just adds length to the lineup."
Winning pitcher Alex Wood said he promised Puig a hug after the game if he homered and both sides delivered, with Wood waiting for Puig in the tunnel to the clubhouse afterward.
"It's great to see him back and doing damage," said Wood.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.