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Must C Curtains: Puig hits first two career homers

LOS ANGELES -- Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig added a pair of home runs and a double, a pair of curtain calls and five RBIs to his two-game Major League resume Tuesday night in the Dodgers' 9-7 win over the Padres.

Sort of makes you wonder why the Dodgers -- unbeaten in the Puig Era -- waited so long to get it started.

"It's been pretty amazing," said manager Don Mattingly. "It's really just like Spring Training. The stuff he was doing in spring is the same type stuff. Shooting balls the other way out of the ballpark, and then the long one to left."

Puig was charged with a throwing error on a ball that should have been cut off or backed up (it was neither). And he failed to score from third in the first inning when the Padres were conceding the run, but he froze. Mattingly sounds very willing to take the bad with the good.

"We see a little bit of the kid in the first inning there," he said. "He gets stuck at third, which I think we're going to get some of that. But obviously, when you're getting as much as you're getting on the other side of it, you just deal with it. There's going to be some growing pains now and then, but obviously the other side of it is really, really good."

Puig is 5-for-8 (.625) with an OPS of 2.125. He is the first Dodger ever with a multi-homer game in his first two games, the first with five RBIs in one of his first two games since Spider Jorgenson had six in 1947 and the first with multi-hit games in the first two games of his career since Larry Miller in 1964.

More records soon to follow.

"I've played a long time, but I don't think I've seen a guy have a first two games that he's had," said veteran Jerry Hairston. "Arm strength, speed, power to all fields. This is fun to watch."

Puig hit a three-run homer off starter Clayton Richard to tie the game at 5 in the fifth inning (439 feet to left-center) and a two-run shot in the sixth off Tyson Ross (an opposite-field line drive).

"We've had a serious lack of power and run production, so it's two things we need," said Mattingly. "We need the energy and we need the power."

The Dodgers overcame a 5-2 deficit and a four-inning start from Ted Lilly, who shrugged off suggestions from Mattingly that he was pitching with a recurring stiff neck.

"We never really know with Ted, one outing to the next," said Mattingly. "We'll just watch him and it seems like this thing comes back and forth."

"I felt good enough to pitch better than that," said Lilly, who added that he expects to make his next start Sunday. "Regardless how I feel, I need to pitch better and find a way not to not get so much work for the bullpen."

With Lilly's health uncertain, the injury of the day was a bruised right hand for reliever Matt Guerrier, who was hit by a Yasmani Grandal line drive between his thumb and base of the index finger. X-rays were negative, but his thumbnail was cracked and bloodied and his hand was swollen.

The lingering injury of the day was second baseman Mark Ellis' groin strain. He ran the bases like someone headed for the disabled list, although Mattingly seemed willing to let him continue playing.

Hanley Ramirez returned from his hamstring strain with a long sacrifice fly and was part of a pair of double plays on defense, one that was so close at first base that Padres manager Bud Black was ejected for arguing.

Ramirez praised Puig.

"He's got a lot of talent, he plays the game hard and I think he brings a lot of energy to us," said Ramirez. "That's good. He's got a lot of confidence. That's what you need to play at this level. That's going to help him a lot."

Catcher Tim Federowicz slugged a two-run homer, his second in his last three games. Skip Schumaker extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an eighth-inning single. Brandon League pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 13th save.

After the first Puig-led comeback, Ronald Belisario took over for Guerrier and quickly allowed the tying run on three hits. Belisario then threw a tantrum in the dugout, taking his frustrations out on a Gatorade cooler.

Winning pitcher J.P. Howell relieved and overcame a misplay by Federowicz that loaded the bases by getting Chase Headley on an inning-ending double play.

The only run Howell allowed was a seventh-inning leadoff homer to Carlos Quentin, who was booed at every opportunity by the Dodger Stadium crowd in recognition of the broken left collarbone he caused by charging Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke on April 11. The boos didn't bother Quentin, as he went 3-for-5.

Puig's second homer followed a tiebreaking RBI double by Luis Cruz.

"Were they mistake pitches? Yes," said Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley. "But good hitters hit mistakes. He's a strong kid. He did what he was supposed to do with those pitches."

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