Game 27: Dodgers’ offense breaks out of slumber against Tampa Bay Rays.

Trayce Thompson

Trayce Thompson lines a two-run single off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore during the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ 10-5 win. Thompson had a career-high four RBIs. (Associated Press photo)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Dodgers scored 10 runs on 13 hits to break out of their offensive funk in a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. Three of the hits were home runs and one never landed. The game story is here. The box score is here.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman returned to the city where his career in baseball took off.

 

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Jose De Leon shines in 2016 debut at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Jose De Leon made his long-awaited debut today for Triple-A Oklahoma City. The top right-handed pitcher in the Dodgers’ organization threw five shutout innings, allowing two hits, walking one batter and striking out nine. De Leon threw 53 of his 88 pitches for strikes.

The Dodgers are staggering their usage of De Leon, Julio Urias and perhaps ultimately other young pitchers — Ross Stripling has been discussed — to strategically take advantage of their limited innings this year. That’s why De Leon remained in extended spring training for the first month of the season.

It was the first game De Leon, 23, has pitched above the Double-A level in the regular season.

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Watch: Trayce Thompson hits a home run that doesn’t land.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dodgers left fielder Trayce Thompson has a career-high four runs batted in today against the Tampa Bay Rays. But that’s not what you will remember about his breakout game.

Thompson did something only six people have done in the history of Tropicana Field, which opened in 1998: He hit a home run that never landed.

There are four rings of catwalks above the field at The Trop. Hit the deepest two, and you’ve got a home run. Hit the other two, and you’ve got confusion. Thompson got all of this Matt Moore fastball in the second inning:

Trayce  Thompson Dodgers

The estimated distance? Less than expected.

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Dodgers coaches are working with Yasiel Puig on a mechanical issue at the plate.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig is working on getting around on inside pitches. (Associated Press photo)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Yasiel Puig said Sunday that he’d be going back into the batting cage to work on what ailed him at the plate. Puig is hitting .127 in his last 15 games going into Tuesday’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Rays.
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Are these the most dangerous seats in baseball?

ST. PETERSBURG — Nomar Garciaparra told me an interesting story earlier today while we looked at the section of seats jutting out toward third base beyond the Dodgers’ dugout at Tropicana Field.

Whenever he played here with the Boston Red Sox, if Garciaparra saw a child sitting in the closest seat to home plate, he would actually walk over to that section and ask the adult sitting closest to the child to switch seats. That seat isn’t the closest to home plate of any in Major League Baseball, but it might the most exposed to a foul ball traveling at 100-plus mph. It’s dangerous enough for anyone to sit there, let alone a child, and Garciaparra figured he’d do what he could to make a difference.

See for yourself. The section juts out at a weird angle from the dugout, leaving fans uniquely exposed — particularly when a left-handed hitter is batting:
Tropicana Field third base seats
Here’s the view from behind home plate. Look at the Raymond James ad in the left side of this frame. That’s the section.
Tropicana Field
MLB recommended that all 30 teams extend the protective netting behind home plate to the edge of each dugout. Fans sitting in these seats are still exposed.

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