LOS ANGELES – Yasiel Puig hit a home run, Ross Stripling earned his first career win, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the hated St. Louis Cardinals 8-4 on Friday the 13th at Dodger Stadium.
Stripling (1-2) recorded his first Major League hit and earned his first big league win, allowing four runs on eight hits with two strikeouts opposing his friend, roommate and Texas A&M teammate Michael Wacha.
"To get the first hit off of him [Wacha] is funny and then to get the first win is really cool," Stripling said of his night of firsts. "To get a win is really nice and now that it's under my belt, hopefully we can pile on some more."
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St. Louis was uncharacteristically sloppy in the field, and lead the league in team errors with 33 in their first 36 games.
"The St. Louis Cardinals play the game the right way," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said before the game. "They play strong defense and they don't beat themselves."
Only they did. The Cardinals committed a season-high four errors, three by shortstop Aledmys Diaz, as five of the Dodgers eight runs were unearned on the night.
"Errors are gonna happen in the game," Wacha said begrudgingly. "It's how you deal with them that matters. I need to do a better job of getting the next guy out."
Wacha (2-4) was the bad luck loser at the hands of his defense. Wacha allowed six runs (only two earned) on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
"I feel like this team is still good enough to get four outs in an inning and still win the game," Wacha continued. "I wasn't frustrated by the errors, I was frustrated with the way I was pitching."
Kolten Wong had two triples for the Cardinals, the first time any player had two triples at Dodger Stadium in a single game since Blake DeWitt on May 17, 2010.
Despite his troubles in the field, Diaz was sensational at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a home run and a double.
The Dodgers offense finally broke out at home for the first time in weeks, albeit with an assist from the left side of the St. Louis infield.
Los Angeles scored a season-high (at home) 8 runs, racking up 11 hits as all nine starters reached base safely in the game. Puig hit a solo home run to shallow right field in the bottom of the sixth inning, his fourth of the season. The Cuban slugger finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
"If I don't help with my offense, then I make sure to focus on my defense. That's why the manager still trusts me," Puig said through a translator of his slow start at the plate, tonight aside. "At the end of the day, if we keep winning games, then Puig's numbers don't matter."
Trayce Thompson got a rare start in left field with a right-hander on the mound and made the most of his opportunity capping off a three-run second inning with a two-run single up the middle.
The Dodgers bullpen pitched four scoreless innings on Friday, giving them 19 consecutive without allowing an earned run.
"I had confidence in those guys," Roberts said of his bullpen's recent success compared to the start of the season. "You can't be perfect all the time, but I've always liked the arms. It is good to see them get rewarded."
Kenley Jansen came into the game with one out and runners at the corners, inducing Matt Holiday into a game-ending double play for his 12th save of the season.
Players of the Game:
Yasiel Puig: 3-for-5 with a home run, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.
Trayce Thompson: Two-run single in the 2nd.
1. Bad Blood: St. Louis shortstop Ruben Tejada was on the same field as Dodgers' second baseman Chase Utley on Friday. Utley famously slid aggressively into Tejada to break up a double play during the NLDS series against the Mets last October. According to Mark Saxon of ESPN, Tejada said that Utley has not reached out to him personally since it happened, but harbors no ill will toward Utley. "It's in the past," he said.
2. A Comedy of Errors: St. Louis committed four errors on Friday night and lead the Major Leagues with 33 errors on the season. Aledmys Diaz had three and Matt Carpenter had one in the loss to the Dodgers.
3. Minor League Puig: On the same day that the Los Angeles Times published a story suggesting that Yasiel Puig should get sent down to the minors, the "Wild Horse" had one of his best games of the season, going 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Despite his sluggish start to the season at the plate, Puig's arm and defense in right field are too valuable to go back to Triple-A OKC.
After that Puig dinger, I'm serious about requesting a send them to the minors article for the rest of the strugglers. — Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) May 14, 2016
Cardinals (19-17): St. Louis will send Carlos Martinez to the mound on Saturday night.
Dodgers (19-17): Los Angeles will look to Scott Kazmir to keep the momentum rolling as first pitch is scheduled for at 6:10PM PST.