MIAMI – Yasiel Puig sent his bat flying with a celebratory shovel pass, which freed both hands so he could slap his chest as he slowly began to jog.
No rush — the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger beat the Miami Marlins with one strike to spare.
Puig hit his second homer of the game on a 1-2 pitch with two out in the ninth inning Friday night, and the three-run shot helped the Dodgers beat Miami 6-4 for their seventh win in a row.
“I’ve been trying to hit better with two strikes,” Puig said in Spanish. “I’ve been calmer at the plate.”
Puig increased his homer total to 18, one shy of his career high in 2013.
Corey Seager also homered for the Dodgers (62-29), who were one strike from defeat three times before winning for the 27th time in the past 31 games.
The Marlins led 4-3 when Joc Pederson singled on a 1-2 pitch with two out in the ninth against A.J. Ramos (2-4). It was the first hit by the Dodgers since the fifth.
Pederson moved up on a wild pitch, Yasmani Grandal walked on a 3-2 pitch, and both runners advanced on another wild pitch.
Puig fell behind 0-2, took a ball and then pulled a 151-kph fastball into the home run sculpture. Ramos blew a save for the second time in 19 chances.
“I threw it where he could hit it out,” said Ramos, who declined to blame All-Star break rustiness. “I was one strike away. I was sharp enough for that. Just couldn’t get the last out.”
The Dodgers improved to 30-6 with Puig batting eighth. He’s second on the team in homers.
Miami reliever Junichi Tazawa worked a scoreless sixth inning for his first hold of the season.
Nationals 5, Reds 0
In Cincinnati, Gio Gonzalez pitched four-hit ball into the ninth inning, and Bryce Harper extended his mid-July tear with a pair of homers for Washington.
Cubs 9, Orioles 8
In Baltimore, Addison Russell hit a go-ahead solo homer in the ninth and Chicago edged the hosts after squandering an eight-run lead.
Mark Trumbo tied the game 8-8 with a two-run homer off Koji Uehara (3-4) in the eighth. Russell responded when he hit a first-pitch fastball from Brad Brach (2-2) over the left field fence.
Uehara worked one inning, allowing two hits and two runs. He struck out one.
Red Sox 5, Yankees 4
In Boston, Aroldis Chapman walked home the winning run without getting an out in the ninth, handing the Red Sox a narrow victory over New York.
Rays 2, Angels 1 (10)
In Anaheim, Angels star Mike Trout went 1- for-5 in his return from a 39-game injury absence, and Brad Miller had an RBI double in the 10th.
Astros 10, Twins 5
In Houston, Brian McCann slugged a three-run homer to cap an eight-run second inning, Marwin Gonzalez had a solo shot and the Astros topped Minnesota.
Brewers 9, Phillies 6
In Milwaukee, Ryan Braun belted a grand slam off the scoreboard in center field and Orlando Arcia added a three-run shot during an eight-run second inning.
Braves 4, Diamondbacks 3
In Atlanta, Chris Owings scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch in the eighth.
Pirates 5, Cardinals 2
In Pittsburgh, Josh Bell hit a three-run homer off Oh Seung-hwan with one out in the ninth.
Mets 14, Rockies 2
In New York, Jacob deGrom came out dealing once again, striking out 11 and winning his sixth straight start.
Blue Jays 7, Tigers 2
In Detroit, Aaron Sanchez pitched six strong innings for his first win of the season as Toronto trounced the Tigers.
Mariners 4, White Sox 2
In Chicago, Robinson Cano delivered a three-run homer on his first swing since connecting for the winning homer in the All-Star Game.
Athletics 5, Indians 0
In Oakland, Sonny Gray and three relievers combined on a four-hitter, as the Athletics spoiled the return of Cleveland manager Terry Francona.
Rangers 5, Royals 3
In Kansas City, Adrian Beltre belted a three-run homer and pinch hitter Mike Napoli had a go-ahead, two-run shot as Texas rallied to beat the Royals.
Giants 5, Padres 4
In San Diego, Denard Span singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth and Buster Posey homered an inning later for San Francisco.