"I just thank God that I could end the game like that," Puig said through translator Tim Bravo.
Puig's incredible throw preserved the save for closer Brandon League, his 12th in 15 chances.
"That guy's got a hose," said League, who made sure to thank Puig after the game. "He's got a great arm and he's pretty accurate with it too. We knew he had a great arm, but that just proved to everyone what we were always saying about him in Spring Training. And now he's doing it at the big league level."
Before closing out the game with his great throw, Puig, in his highly anticipated debut, led off and started in right field. The Dodgers' No. 1 prospect singled to center in his first at-bat, showed his speed on the basepaths, and finished 2-for-4.
"I'm very happy," said Puig, who hit .517 during Spring Training and dominated the Southern League with Double-A Chattanooga before his promotion. "I got two hits. We won the game. I made the last out of the game. Thank God."
It only took one day, but Puig's arrival in Los Angeles has changed the mood surrounding the team.
"I'm thinking that ball is going out of the ballpark -- the way things have been going -- when he hits it, but that throw was unbelievable," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "With all the hype, it's really just amazing that it ends like that. It was fun."
While Puig stole the show, Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke homered and Stephen Fife earned his first Major League win.
For the second straight game, the Dodgers needed an emergency starter from Triple-A. Fife filled in for left-hander Chris Capuano, who was pushed back because of a strained triceps muscle in his pitching arm.
The results were much better this time for the Dodgers and Fife, making his second spot start of the season. He was charged with one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Fife struck out five against two walks to win for the first time in seven career starts.
"It's pretty cool," Fife said. "This is the first one and you always remember it. And to do it in that fashion with a spot start, it's pretty awesome."
The Dodgers provided Fife with early support via the home run.
Gonzalez crushed a solo shot into the Padres' bullpen in the first inning off former Dodgers left-hander Eric Stults. The first baseman leads the Dodgers with eight homers and 42 RBIs.
Van Slyke, who started in left field for the injured Carl Crawford, went deep to left to lead off the second. The rookie has five homers in 17 games.
"Van Slyke let us know Puig is not the only rookie around here," Mattingly said with a grin.
Fife cruised through five innings, then encountered trouble in the sixth when the top of the Padres' order got their third look at the right-hander. Fife retired leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera and then allowed a double and a single as the Padres closed the gap, 2-1.
Peter Moylan relieved Fife and, after a single, got a double-play grounder to end San Diego's rally.
In his only other start, April 29, Fife allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings at Baltimore in place of Chad Billingsley. Fife experienced shoulder soreness the following day and went on the disabled list. He made a Minor League rehab start on Tuesday and was back in the big leagues on Monday.
"I was pretty uncomfortable in Baltimore," Fife said. "My thought process wasn't so much about making a quality pitch as it was, 'How am I going to get my arm up and through to get the ball there?' It was a lot different physical feeling today for me."
Fife performed better than Sunday's emergency starter Matt Magill, who gave up four homers in a loss at Colorado as he filled in for Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is nursing a sore left foot.
Perhaps Puig's mystique rubbed off on Fife. Nevertheless, the Cuban impressed those in each dugout.
"In one game, you can see that this guy has a lot of tools," Padres manager Bud Black said. "You can see the arm. It looks like he runs well. We'll see. It's only one game. I'm sure the Dodgers hope it's a long career. I think that will play out. But on a scouting scale, the Dodgers and the rest of the scouts around baseball realize this guy has a lot of tools."
That's why Puig's heroics didn't shock his new manager.
"How can you not be surprised by that ending?" Mattingly said. "We've seen games end like that, but not when the kid's out there who has been hyped since the beginning of Spring Training. It is Hollywood."