You can't tame a wild horse.
Yasiel Puig has had a rough 24 hours. While his teammates were celebrating Chris Taylor's first career walk-off home run at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, Puig was at his San Fernando Valley home after three burglars broke in and ransacked his residence for the fourth time in 18 months.
"I didn't sleep too much yesterday," admitted Puig after his home was broken into. "I tried to come back, I said 'I was going to hit a home run too,' but he [Chris Taylor] hit it before I was able to come back."
Needless to say, Puig was sleep deprived, and wasn't in the starting lineup for the finale of the three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. Nonetheless, the wild horse broke free and found a way to leave his imprint on the game.
Puig hit a tiebreaking, pinch-hit, game-winning, three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies, 5-2, to increase their NL West lead to 2.5 games.
Walker Buehler struck out a career-high 12 and the Dodgers put some significant distance between themselves and 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.
"I've pitched in some big games, but the later you get in the year, the bigger it all feels," said Buehler of his start against the Rockies. "It's tough to catch fire at the right time, but its never a bad thing to be that team, and I think we're doing it."
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.
"I got settled back in and made some pitches to preserve pitch count," said Buehler. "I slowed down a little bit. I'll learn from it and move forward, and try and avoid two-spots."
In his last nine starts, Buehler is 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA with 72 strikeouts and just 18 walks to go with a 0.88 WHIP.
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.
"My first couple swings were five minutes before I hit," Puig said of the pinch-hit at-bat. "I didn't try to hit a homer. I just tried to hit the ball in the air or score the guy from third base, but God blessed me and put the ball in the air and I hit a homer. That's one of my first hits coming from pinch-hitting and I was so excited running around the bases."
In the month of September, Puig is batting .400 with nine runs, one double, seven home runs and 14 RBI in 14 games.
"The only other time I've been this hot at the plate is in my house playing video games," joked Puig.
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.
The Dodgers completed their ninth sweep of the season and their second over Colorado this season.
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.