Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire and Manager Don Mattingly grab ahold… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
Yasiel Puig didn't get a hit or make a spectacular throw on Tuesday night, but he might have changed the Dodgers' season.
Less than three weeks ago, the Dodgers were said by their own manager to lack toughness. But there was no questioning their resolve in a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.
Puig was hit in the face by a 92-mph fastball by Ian Kennedy in the sixth inning, sparking an old-fashioned brawl in the seventh and setting the stage for an emotional comeback in the eighth. The decisive blow was landed by rookie catcher Tim Federowicz, who doubled in three runs to overcome a one-run deficit.
BOX SCORE: Dodgers 5, Arizona 3
"A perfect win," Federowicz said.
Ejected during the melee for delivering an overhand punch to the back of reserve infielder Eric Hinske's head, Puig wasn't in the dugout when newly appointed closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth inning to preserve the victory.
But Puig set the tone on this night. Only nine games into the major league career, this might already be his team.
The Dodgers were only a night removed from a crushing 5-4 victory, a game they led 3-1 heading into the ninth inning. Puig was said to be furious.
When Puig grounded out to short in the second inning Tuesday, he ran through first base awkwardly. Feeling his leg cramp, he disappeared into the clubhouse with trainer Sue Falsone, but returned to his defensive station in right field the next inning.
The Dodgers were down, 2-0, when Puig was dropped to the ground by Kennedy. Puig was down for a while. Visited by Falsone and assistant trainer Greg Harrel in the batter's box, Puig adjusted his nose while sitting in the batter's box. He eventually got up, threw on his helmet and ran to first base. The crowd roared.
The next batter, Andre Ethier, sent a pitch over the right-field wall and tied the score, 2-2.
Miguel Montero led off the seventh inning for the Diamondbacks and was hit in the back by Zack Greinke. Montero shouted at Greinke, leading the benches to clear. But no punches were thrown.
"It should have really been over at that point," Mattingly said.
The situation escalated in the seventh inning, when Kennedy hit Greinke on his left shoulder. Kennedy was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Clint Fagan.
The Dodgers charged out of the dugout, with Belisario, Juan Uribe and Luis Cruz leading the way.
Belisario threw several punches. J.P. Howell, who ran from the bullpen, drove Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach Turner Ward into a railing near a camera well. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire and Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams became tangled.
Mattingly hurled Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammell to the ground. Puig threw an overhand punch that caught reserve infielder Hinske in the back of the head.
Puig, McGwire and Belisario were thrown out, as were Kennedy, Ward and Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson.
The Diamondbacks went ahead, 3-2, in the eighth inning, when Willie Bloomquist singled off Matt Guerrier to drive in A.J. Pollock.
But Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez walked the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning. Federowicz drove a ball off the left-field wall, scoring all three runs.