LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig slugged a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning that sent the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Wednesday night to increase their NL West lead to 2½ games.
Walker Buehler struck out a career-high 12 and the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the second-place Rockies, giving the defending NL champions their largest division lead this season. They outscored Colorado 16-6 in the series, with homers proving to be the difference in each game.
After falling into a 2-0 hole in a 36-pitch first inning, Buehler settled down and showed why he has become a dependable complement to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The rookie right-hander allowed three hits and one walk over six innings, and neither run he gave up was earned.
Puig’s second career pinch-hit homer came off Scott Oberg (7-1) and ignited the crowd and his teammates, some of whom came out in front of the dugout to cheer. On a recent tear at the plate, the excitable Puig raised both arms as he circled the bases.
The Dodgers showed off their depth in the seventh. After pinch-hitter Joc Pederson fouled out, Max Muncy drew a pinch-hit walk. Yasmani Grandal doubled to deep right field, moving Muncy to third and setting up Puig.
Caleb Ferguson (7-2) got two outs to earn the win. Kenley Jansen retired the side in the ninth for his 36th save.
Buehler gave up a two-run single to Ian Desmond in the first after the pitcher made a run-saving throw to the plate when Gerardo Parra grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Matt Kemp homered on the first pitch from Tyler Anderson in the second, giving the Dodgers seven players with 20 or more homers in a season for the first time in franchise history. That left them trailing 2-1.
Brian Dozier’s RBI double tied the game 2-all in the fifth. Enrique Hernandez singled leading off and made a headfirst slide at the plate, with his feet barely eluding the tag of catcher Chris Iannetta.
Anderson gave up two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Rockies: SS Trevor Story is receiving treatment for right elbow inflammation in Arizona, and the team is encouraged that he could return soon. Story might participate in some baseball activities at the club’s spring training facility in Phoenix, where the Rockies are headed next to play the Diamondbacks.
Rockies: Off on Thursday before sending RHP German Marquez (12-10, 3.96 ERA) to the mound against third-place Arizona.
Dodgers: After an off day Thursday, LHP Rich Hill (9-5, 4.02) starts the opener of a three-game series against the last-place Padres.