8/20/2014 3:33 A.M. ET
Dodgers cut down runner at third to seal win
Puig initiates final play with strong throw; out call upheld after review
By Michael Lananna / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez could see that Abraham Almonte was rounding third base aggressively. He could also see that Almonte's third-base coach was telling him to hold up. In Gonzalez's eyes, all signs pointed toward third.
So that's where Gonzalez threw the ball, and that's where Miguel Rojas laid down a tag, and that's where -- after a replay review -- Tuesday night's game ended in an 8-6 Dodgers win.
But that's not where that play took shape. It began in center field. If not for a strong throw and smart decision by Yasiel Puig after a single by Jedd Gyorko with Almonte on second, the Padres could still be batting.
Gonzalez said he knew he'd have a chance to make a play as soon as he saw a good throw from the outfield.
"I was just glad Yasiel hit the cutoff man," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It's one of those plays that you want him to hit the cutoff man. That run's really not the important run. It's the guy at first you want to keep there and not let him get in scoring position, so the fact that he hits the cutoff man is what we've asked him to do."
Puig has drawn criticism in the past for his decision-making, but Mattingly has praised the right-fielder-turned-center-fielder's growth in recent weeks.
Gonzalez said he didn't think hitting the cutoff man was a problem for Puig.
"He would hit the cutoff man when he came up, too," Gonzalez said. "He had a couple of errant throws that everyone made a big deal about, but he would still hit his cutoff man."
Gonzalez's subsequent relay throw Tuesday resulted in a close play at third. Padres manager Bud Black came out to challenge the call, but after a review, the umpires upheld the ruling.
"I wasn't sure [if he was out,]" Rojas said. "But as soon as I got the ball I put the tag as soon as possible, and I just gave the umpire the call. And he made the right decision because I think I got him before he got his hand on it."
Rojas, along with Gonzalez and Mattingly, agreed that a strong throw from center made the play possible.
"That's Puig because he made a great throw," Rojas said. "It's easy for us when he hits the cutoff man. Adrian can just throw the ball, and the runner was aggressive after the bag, and I think we got a great play right there."
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.