Yasiel Puig became the first Dodger since 2006 to collect more than one hit in his major-league debut Monday. Then the 22-year-old right fielder provided a memorable ending to a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres before an announced crowd of 37,055 at Dodger Stadium.
With Chris Denorfia on first base and one out in the ninth inning, Kyle Blanks launched a fly ball to the warning track in front of the right-field scoreboard. Puig made the catch and threw on the fly to first base, where Adrian Gonzalez stretched and caught the ball for a rare 9-3, game-ending double play.
“I’m going to prepare to do the little things on the field to help the team,” Puig said through interpreter Tim Bravo.
“With all the hype it’s just amazing for it to end like that,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “How can you not be surprised by that ending? It is Hollywood.”
The play allowed the Dodgers (24-32) to snap a two-game losing streak and allowed Brandon League to record his 11th save of the season.
Puig also went 2 for 4 in becoming the first Dodger since Russell Martin in 2006 to collect more than one hit in his first major-league game. He became the first Dodger to lead off a game with his first major league at-bat since Jose Offerman on August 19,1990. (Coincidentally, both got a hit — Offerman a home run, Puig a single.)
But it was Puig’s defense that stole the show. Gonzalez said he was just as impressed in the sixth inning when Alexi Amarista belted a ball down the right-field line into the corner, sending Puig into a slide near the wall. Puig popped up and threw a one-hop rocket to second base, holding the fleet-footed Amarista to a double.
The ninth-inning sequence would not have been possible without the efforts of shortstop Luis Cruz and second baseman Nick Punto. When Denorfia approached second base, both fielders faked as if they were receiving a throw. Denorfia bit and went into a head-first slide.
By the time Denorfia realized where the ball was, it was a fraction of a second too late.
“It was a big throw,” Gonzalez said. “It has to be on target. We all know he’s got a great arm.”