MIAMI -- Down to their last strike in the ninth Friday, the Dodgers turned to the guy with a knack for heroics: Yasiel Puig, who turned on an AJ Ramos 94-mph fastball and drilled the home run sculpture for his second homer of the game to lead the Dodgers to their seventh straight victory, a 6-4 series-opening win against the Marlins at Marlins Park.
"There's really no true way to get him out," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who managed Puig on the Dodgers from 2013-15. "You just kind of want to keep changing. And obviously tonight, I'm not sure if it was a mistake, [but] he hit it. That's for sure."
Los Angeles, which finished the first half as the fourth team in the last 40 years to win 60 games before the All-Star break, carried that into the second half. The Dodgers have won 27 of their last 31 games since June 7 and are a Major League-best 33 games above .500. They also snapped Miami's three-game win streak.
"Big players make big plays in big moments," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "We seem to have a knack for the heroics late. He does have a flair for the dramatic. For me, it was good to see his heartbeat stay calm after getting behind in the count, 0-2. There have been many times where we've seen him get over-amped and try to do too much. But tonight, he had two big spots to help us, and he came through both times."
Ramos, who had two strikes on each of the two batters before Puig's go-ahead shot, said he couldn't execute the final pitch. He has given up runs in each of his last three outings and was unable to close out a game for the second time this season.
"I'm not as sharp with those days off, but I was one strike away," Ramos said. "I was sharp enough for that, but just couldn't get the last out."
On his T-shirt giveaway night, Justin Bour did all he could to help the Marlins' cause. After Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI double, he slapped a two-run, go-ahead double off Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy in the fifth to give Miami a 4-3 lead at the time.
"We were able to get that lead ... I felt like we just weren't able to add onto it," Mattingly said. "You're kind of wanting another run in there or two. With those guys, you know that they're capable of scoring."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Marcell's missile: Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna saved a run to end the second. Chris Taylor singled to left, and Ozuna came up and fired an 83.3-mph strike to J.T. Realmuto, who tagged Yasmani Grandal out by a few feet at home plate. Ozuna's great throw not only kept Miami within one run but also gave him his sixth outfield assist, most by a Marlins outfielder this year.
"I thought that was huge," Mattingly said. "We had a number of plays. That play keeps it at one."
Puig and Seager strike: The Dodgers launched a pair of homers in the fifth off Dan Straily to net a 3-1 lead. Puig struck first, blasting a 449-foot homer, his second farthest since Statcast™ was introduced. Corey Seager followed three batters later by belting a homer into the upper deck in right field off a hanging Straily slider.
"He's tempting me to move him up in the order," Roberts said of Puig, who bats eighth. "But for us, we're very offensive, and we're doing something right." More >
"It wasn't very good. Fortunately, not bad enough to set us behind and make it a game that was unwinnable." -- McCarthy, on his 4 2/3-inning performance
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: Left-hander Alex Wood takes the mound for the Dodgers in the middle game of a three-game set with Miami at 4:10 p.m. PT on Saturday at Marlins Park. The 26-year-old is enjoying a career year with a 10-0 record and a 1.67 ERA so far this season.
Marlins: One of Miami's best starters in the first half, Jose Urena (7-3, 3.54 ERA), looks to continue his solid season versus the Dodgers at 7:10 p.m. ET on Saturday. In 15 1/3 career innings against Los Angeles, the right-hander is 1-1 with a 0.59 ERA.