It was a perfect and fitting end to the month of June, which saw the Dodgers go from pushover to a team on the rise.
Youth has been served, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
With big games from Yasiel Puig and Stephen Fife, and contributions along the way from Jose Dominguez, Paco Rodriguez, and Scott Van Slyke, the Dodgers won an easy one over the Phillies on Sunday, 6-1. The win gave them three of four, and eight of their last nine.
It took until the fourth before either team scored, where the Dodgers certainly got to Kyle Kendrick. Puig hit his second infield single and soon stole second. An out later, Hanley Ramirez stroked an RBI single to go up 1-0. Ramirez got in on the running with a steal of second, and Matt Kemp's RBI single to left made it 2-0.
A balk by Kendrick put Kemp at second, and A.J. Ellis hit an infield single for runners on the corners. An RBI single by Jerry Hairston later, the Dodgers were in control at 3-0.
The heart of the order of Puig and Adrian Gonzalez teamed up to create another run in the fifth. Puig lifted a popup to right that landed and scooted away from Delmon Young in right, allowing Puig to get a triple out of it. Gonzalez lined an RBI double to right, and it was 4-0.
For as much as Dodger fans complain about their bullpen (and rightfully so), the Phillies are just as bad, if not worse. The Dodgers scored a couple more runs off of them in the eighth. With Jacob Diekman in, Kemp singled and scored all the way from first on an RBI double by Ellis, who had three hits on the day. Van Slyke pinch-hit and hit an RBI single to score Ellis, making it 6-0.
Dominguez made his Major League debut in the top of the eighth, and boy did he leave his mark. Throwing gas around 100 MPH, he immediately struck out Young, then got Ben Revere to ground to short. On a full count to Carlos Ruiz, he hurled a change-up at about 83 MPH, popping him up to second. Not only was it great to see that, but the fact he's replacing the recently designated Matt Guerrier makes it even sweeter!
Chris Withrow started the ninth and got a couple of outs right away before allowing consecutive singles to Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, allowing Utley to score. Rodriguez came in and got Ryan Howard swinging to end the game.
There was so much about this game that should leave the home fans feeling good as they left Dodger Stadium. As I mentioned before, the youth strutted their stuff the whole day. Puig continues to just marvel. A 4-for-5 day at the plate gives him a .436 average, which is simply insane. That's the highest average for a player in a calendar month making his Major League debut in the modern era. Only Joe DiMaggio had more hits at 46 (to Puig's 44), and he had 25 more plate appearances. Wow!
We all know how good Puig is, but let's give credit to Fife for stepping up and delivering a fantastic game on the mound. In seven start this year, he's gone 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Only one of his starts has he given up more than three runs, and that was the first one. His name was nowhere on the list of potential rotation candidates to start the season, but due to injuries, he's more than justified his spot.
Watching Dominguez and Withrow was refreshing, mostly because we didn't have to suffer through watching clowns like Brandon League, Ronald Belisuckio, and Guerrier. Paco is turning into a quality reliever against any hitter, as lefties are hitting .143, and righties .163. Maybe the Dodgers are finally ready for quality middle relief to get the ball to Kenley Jansen in the ninth. We can only hope.
Going 6-1 on the homestand was sweet, but now it's time to improve on that 13-22 road record, which is nearly the worst in all of baseball. They'll get plenty of chances to do so coming up, as they start with three in Colorado on Tuesday, followed by three in San Francisco, and concluding with three in Arizona. Clayton Kershaw gets the call on Tuesday.