Video: Yasiel Puig swats three home runs, helps Dodgers break wild card tie

Yasiel Puig
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It’s been a wild week for the Dodgers, who are currently riding a four-game win streak after breaking their tie with the Cardinals for the second wild card spot on Saturday. In a stunning 17-4 win over St. Louis, Los Angeles slugger Yasiel Puig was the headliner, clubbing three home runs and collecting seven RBI to help the Dodgers clinch the series win.

After Manny Machado put up a two-run shot in the first inning, Puig drove his first home run of the day into the center field seats on a first-pitch fastball from Cardinals right-hander John Gant. He returned in the fifth with a three-run homer — his 20th of the season and the hardest-hit homer in Statcast-era team history — scoring both Yasmani Grandal and Cody Bellinger to give the Dodgers a four-run boost.

Following another two runs from Bellinger and Max Muncy in the sixth, Puig’s third and final dinger came in the eighth inning on a one-out, 0-2 changeup from right-hander Luke Weaver. This one was hammered into left field as the Dodgers took a 13-4 lead over the Cardinals, which was then garnished with another four runs thanks to Bellinger and Andrew Toles’ efforts in the ninth.

Puig left Saturday’s unbelievable win with a .272/.333/.504 batting line, 21 home runs and .837 OPS through 403 PA. In this series alone, he’s already delivered six hits (a single and five home runs) through 10 at-bats. Saturday’s performance marked the first three-homer game of his six-year career in the majors.

Even taking their crazy win streak into account, however, the Dodgers’ place in the postseason isn’t cemented quite yet. They’re currently tied with the Rockies at the top of the NL West standings and hold a tenuous one-game lead over the Cardinals for the second wild card berth.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.