Yasiel Puig's next challenge is to help the Los Angeles Dodgers defeat a pitcher that has beaten them four straight times.
Puig will try to help the Dodgers post their seventh straight win Friday night when they host John Lannan and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Los Angeles (36-42) seeks its first seven-game run since taking nine straight May 9-18, 2010. Puig was the hero Thursday with a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning of a 6-4 victory that opened this four-game set.
Puig had been hitless in three at_bats before his clutch hit and was shaken up crashing into the right field auxiliary scoreboard while trying to track Chase Utley's go-ahead homer in the top of the seventh. He's hitting a major league-best .427 in June, and the infectious Cuban rookie's enthusiasm has rubbed off on his teammates.
``He kind of reminds me of myself,' Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said of Puig. ``Sometimes he plays too hard, and sometimes you have to tell him: `Man, calm down. You can't make every play.' But he's done an amazing job in his first month in the big leagues. He's gotten big hits and made big plays on defense. He's doing a lot, and I think we're just feeding off the kid.'
Puig is 13 for 26 against left-handers heading into his first look at the southpaw Lannan, who is 4-0 with a 3.95 ERA in his last five starts against the Dodgers.
Lannan (0-2, 5.84 ERA) will make his third start since missing two months with a strained left quadriceps tendon. He lasted five innings in his first one and five-plus Sunday as he surrendered six runs in an 8-0 loss to the Mets.
Hanley Ramirez is 10 for 23 with a homer and three doubles against Lannan, and will likely return to the lineup after not starting Thursday. Ramirez was intentionally walked as a pinch-hitter, and his nine-game hitting streak in which he is batting .485 remains intact.
Dodgers starter Chris Capuano (2-4, 4.09) will take the mound for the third time since missing three weeks with a strained triceps muscle.
The left-hander has thrown 11 scoreless innings since coming back, lasting five on three days' rest Sunday as he did not get a decision in a 3-1 victory at San Diego.
Capuano is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts against Philadelphia (38-42), and he has limited Utley to one hit in 10 at_bats.
Utley is 7 for 18 on this road trip after falling a triple short of the cycle during a three-hit effort Thursday in front of College World Series champion UCLA - where the second baseman also played.
Michael Young should be back in the Phillies' lineup. The third baseman was out of it Thursday after nine straight starts.
Delmon Young tied a career high with four hits Thursday as Philadelphia fell despite a 14-7 advantage in hits.
Kemp went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases in his second start after missing nearly a month with a right hamstring strain. He's 3 for 15 against Lannan.
"It's a long season," Kemp said. "We've just got to keep grinding and keep playing good baseball."
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen may be unavailable Friday. He has pitched five of the previous six nights, going 4 for 4 in save chances in that stretch after recording the final three outs Thursday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved