SYDNEY – Yasiel Puig broke out of a spring-long batting slump to hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning Thursday and lead the Los Angeles Dodgers a 4-2 win over Team Australia in an exhibition game at the revamped Sydney Cricket Ground.
With the score tied 2-2 after Puig’s homer, the Dodgers took the lead on an error and passed ball, then added a fourth on Juan Uribe’s single.
Puig was batting only .122 with five hits in 41 at-bats coming into the game.
He also helped defensively, throwing out a runner in the sixth inning from right field, easily getting Australia first baseman Mike Walker at the plate.
The Dodgers are preparing for Major League Baseball season openers against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday and Sunday. Team Australia plays the Diamondbacks in an exhibition game Friday.
Seth Rosin came in to pitch for the Dodgers in the ninth and made things interesting when he allowed Australia to put men at first and second with one out. But Rosin struck out catcher Ryan Battaglia and second baseman Logan Wade to end the game and get the save.
Before the four-run eighth, the Dodgers’ only threat came in the first inning when Puig walked with one out and Adrian Gonzalez moved him to third with a single — the only Los Angeles hit through the first seven innings. But Australia starter Ryan Searle got Andre Ethier swinging.
Team Australia, which outhit the Dodgers 7-3, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on third baseman Stefan Welch’s sacrifice fly RBI and scored its second in the sixth on an infield single by Mike Walker, scoring Brad Harman from third. The inning ended when Walker was thrown out by Puig.
Team Australia had six players on its roster affiliated with major league clubs — Battaglia (Cleveland), Ryan Rowland-Smith (Diamondbacks), Searle (Chicago Cubs), Wade (Minnesota), Walker (Milwaukee) and Welch (Boston).