STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yasiel Puig was frustrated long before he snapped a bat in half over his leg and shattered a light in the tunnel behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ dugout.
Puig struck out three times, his frustration boiling over after the last with two men on base in the eighth inning as the NL West-leading Dodgers lost 4-1 at the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
“I think anyone, obviously, in a big situation, you want to get a hit. He didn’t and reacted,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I’d probably rather see a bat flip than a bat break. I don’t want anyone to injure themselves. That’s the only thing I worry about when slamming helmets or slamming bats.”
When Puig took a called third strike in the fourth, he stood momentarily at home plate before a slow walk back to the dugout. With two runners on in the sixth, he had a deep fly ball that didn’t even advance any runners.
After a lengthy period before coming into the clubhouse after the game, Puig said the obvious — that he was frustrated. He had hit .481 with a homer and three doubles in the seven games since he had returned from the disabled list.
With the shattered bat in hand in the eighth, Puig went through the back of the dugout and knocked out a light when he slammed the pieces there.
Dodgers starter Carlos Frias (4-4) had thrown five scoreless innings when he suddenly lost his control in the sixth.
After the first two batters walked in the sixth, Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland had consecutive RBI singles. The Rangers led 4-0 when Rougned Odor, in his first game back after five weeks in the minors, greeted reliever Adam Liberatore with a two-run single.
“I don’t know what happened,” Frias said. “I was sitting for a little bit (longer) in the dugout. We had a long inning.”
Yovani Gallardo (6-6) threw seven scoreless innings for Texas. The right-hander has won all three of his decisions over his last five starts, and has allowed only five earned runs over 32 innings in that span.
After walking the first two batters of the sixth in what was still a scoreless game, Gallardo got Puig on an adventurous fly ball — Shin-Soo Choo initially couldn’t find the ball, but recovered with a backpedaling catch — before Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a double play.
“I’m throwing the ball well right now. I had a good slider and cutter,” Gallardo said. “I think I was just trying to be a little bit too fine (in the sixth). … But I made some pitches. The guys played great defense behind me.”
Former Dodgers reliever Shawn Tolleson worked the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances, a day after giving up a ninth-inning run in a tie game that became a 4-3 home loss to Minnesota.
Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers gave up a long homer to Yasmani Grandal on the first pitch he threw after taking over in the eighth. But he struck out Puig before Gonzalez fouled out.
KERSHAW GETS HOMETOWN TEAM AT HOME
Three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and Dallas native Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch against the Rangers — on Wednesday in Dodger Stadium, instead in the stadium he grew up going to games. “I think 10 years from now, it’d be like “Oh man, I got to pitch here’,” he said. “But at the end of the day, Dodger Stadium is a better place to pitch, so I’m not too upset about it.” The only game he has played at the Rangers’ ballpark was while in high school, and he was at first base.
Dodgers: RHP Pedro Baez (pectoral muscle) is scheduled to throw live BP on Tuesday and then likely a bullpen session in Los Angeles after that. Mattingly said if those go well, “we’ll be talking about a rehab assignment for him.”… Mattingly said OF Carl Crawford (right oblique) has “started swinging a little bit.”
Rangers: Slugger Josh Hamilton swung a bat for the first time since straining his left hamstring two weeks ago. Hamilton said he felt fine after hitting off a tee and also some soft tosses. … LHP Martin Perez, pulled from his rehab assignment from Tommy John surgery because of a tweaked left groin, is set to throw a bullpen session Tuesday.
Dodgers: LHP Brett Anderson has a 2.79 ERA over his last eight starts, but is only 1-3 in that span. He has induced 142 ground balls, leading the majors in ground-ball percentage at 67 percent.
Rangers: Rookie RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez makes his fourth major league start, having allowed only one in 21 2/3 innings.
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