As one may suspect, a game that features two ‘seventh-inning’ stretches comes with plenty of intrigue, missed opportunities and drama. Such was the case when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres went to 17 innings one day after playing 11 innings.
Kenta Maeda carreid a no-hitter into the fifth inning, as he was much sharper than he’d been in his previous four outings. San Diego took a 1-0 lead in the fifth two batters after a Melvin Upton Jr. leadoff single.
Then with two outs and the bases loaded, Wil Myers cleared the bases with a flare into right field that got by a diving Yasiel Puig and resulted in a triple. Puig being at the center of a key moment was a precursor of what was to come.
He had already stranded a runner in the second inning and was caught stealing in the top of the fifth after reaching on a hit by pitch. The polarizing outfielder then popped out to end the sixth, stranding another pair of runners, and slamming his bat into the ground.
However, Puig’s most head-scratching play came in the ninth inning with the game tied at 5-5. He reached on a leadoff single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. A.J. Ellis dropped a bunt down toward third base, but Puig failed to advance. He didn’t so much as make an effort to take third.
After the Dodgers’ win in 17 innings, Puig simply said he was confused on the play, according to Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press:
“I got confused,” Puig said. “I just didn’t run. That’s it.”
Ellis was seen yelling in Puig’s direction to run and appeared visibly upset on his way back to the dugout. Meanwhile, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he was shocked by Puig not making the appropriate read:
“A.J. squared early and in that situation, everyone in the ballpark knew what was going to happen,” Roberts said. “He executed and made the third baseman field the baseball, so after you see the execution, you’re waiting for the baserunner to advance and it didn’t happen, so I was shocked.”
Puig was stranded in the ninth, but as tends to be the case in baseball, he found himself in position to atone for his frustrating day. With one out and the bases loaded, Puig hit a two-run single to center to score the go-ahead run(s).
He acknowledged feeling the pressure to deliver in effort to make up for the baserunning blunder:
“The infield was playing in so I had to put the ball in play,” Puig said through an interpreter. “I had to do something to help my team, especially after the baserunning I did, when I didn’t run, when Ellis hit the bunt, and I was able to make up for it.”
Puig finished 3-for-7 on the day, collecting his second multi-hit game in the past three contests. He’s also hit safely in four of the past five games, entering Monday’s series with the Cincinnati Reds.