It's a small sample size, but Los Angeles Dodgers rookie phenom Yasiel Puig is now 2-for-2 on the season with the bases loaded.
His latest random act of heroism, a sharp single to left field, plated A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe with the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting the Dodgers to a 6-4 win and their sixth straight victory.
The Dodgers are now just 5.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. For a team that was left for dead just a month ago, they're now poised to make life interesting in the second half.
Puig's heroics were aided by Uribe's bunt, which headed in the direction of Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard slipped while attempting to field the bunt, putting runners on first and second with no outs.
That set the stage for Puig, who now has six RBI with the bases loaded.
The surging Dodgers tacked on an important insurance run in the eighth inning when center fielder Matt Kemp singled, stole second, third and scored on Ellis' sacrifice fly.
The hamstring injuries that have plagued Kemp over the past year-plus certainly seemed to be a distant memory during that sequence of plays.
Matt Kemp is going to go on a serious hot streak, that guy really looks like he's having fun out there— Zach Donofrio (@zachdonofrio) June 28, 2013
That particular tweet might just be the key for the Dodgers. Kemp is having fun and playing loose—exactly what LA needs after a rough first three months.
The Dodgers will host the Phillies for three more games before embarking on an important three-city, nine-game road trip against division rivals Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks. They'll return home for four more games before the All-Star break, but it doesn't get easier—they face the Rockies once again.
That stretch of 13 games just before the break will be of vital importance for the Dodgers as they attempt to continue their climb towards the top of the division.
The team once left for dead could well be at or near the top of the NL West within the next three weeks. And with Puig and a healthy Kemp leading the offense, the rest of the division will be on high alert.