Yasiel Puig homers twice, Dodgers overpower Padres 10-2
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yasiel Puig is trying to improve his punctuality, and a noon start Thursday made for an unusually early morning.
This year, though, Puig is having little trouble getting going early.
Puig hit two home runs, drove in four runs and stole a base to help the Los Angeles Dodgers rout the San Diego Padres 10-2.
The Cuban outfielder has appeared on his best behavior so far this season, and he’s also been producing big time for Los Angeles. He’s batting .417 with three homers through four games.
“You have to behave yourself and get here early and prepare,” Puig said through an interpreter. “That’s how things are going the right way.”
Puig was 2 for 3 and had two walks. He hit a two-run homer to left off the first pitch from Jered Weaver (0-1) in the second inning. The 26-year-old homered off Weaver again in his next at-bat in the fourth, belting another two-run shot to left to give the Dodgers a four-run lead.
“The thing with Yasiel is, early on in his career, the league didn’t know how to approach him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He was hitting a lot of balls out over, and the league was learning from him, and the last couple of years, you see the league has adjusted. He’s had to make those adjustments as well. Right now, he’s being disciplined with his approach and continues to work through mechanics.
“It’s more credit now that he’s started off this series well in the sense that they’re pitching him tough. He’s swinging at strikes and taking balls. We look for him to sustain this.”
It was the first multihomer game for Puig since June 4, 2013, his second game in the majors. Four years ago, Puig had an electrifying summer to burst into the majors. He’s had plenty of issues, though, including speeding tickets, promptness and immaturity. In 2014, he was benched on opening day for being late.
Puig was relegated to the minor leagues last year, but he has been given another chance. He’s making good on that early on.
Asked if he feels like a different person, Puig said: “Yes. I think I’m a little more mature. I’m continuing to work. I know I’m a little older. I’ve been getting older as it goes. I need to keep working and preparing so I can keep helping everyone I’m trying to help.”
Brandon McCarthy (1-0), who had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and an ensuing case of the yips last year, faced 17 batters — two over the minimum — through five innings. He allowed two runs and four hits in six innings.
“It’s nice to go out and not have things go haywire and not have a mess on your hands,” McCarthy said.
Weaver pitched in a different uniform for the first time in his career after spending 11 years with the Los Angeles Angels. He allowed four earned runs, five hits and three walks in five innings.
“The walks, in general, is what killed me,” Weaver said. “I pride myself on not walking people. Obviously two bad pitches and there you go, four runs.”
The Padres issued 11 walks.
Wil Myers hit a two-run home run off McCarthy in the sixth, but the Padres had just six hits and couldn’t get much going offensively.
The Dodgers won their home-opening series, 3-1.
In the seventh inning, two-way player Christian Bethancourt loaded the bases, then walked Andrew Toles to score Puig.
Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson was ejected in the seventh inning after he slammed his bat and helmet after being called out on strikes.
“He’s emotional and we love that about him and he cares,” Roberts said. “But that’s a game you just can’t get thrown out of.”
Padres: Catcher Hector Sanchez left the game for precautionary reasons with dizziness (concussion-like symptoms) after taking a foul ball off his mask in the seventh inning.
Dodgers: Reliever Pedro Baez (right hand) threw a bullpen session two days ago and came out of that well, but Roberts wasn’t yet sure when he would throw again.
Padres: RHP Luis Perdomo makes his season debut in the home opener at Petco Park against the Giants. Perdomo had a 2.41 ERA in five spring starts. He led all Padres starting pitchers last year in wins (nine) and innings pitched (146 2/3).
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu is back following left shoulder surgery and other injuries that had him make just one start over the last two years. He’ll make his season debut in Colorado.
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