LOS ANGELES -- It was home or bust for Yasiel Puig on Wednesday, as one of baseball's most electric players was determined to ignore as many warning signs as possible to give his team a victory.
Puig scored the game-ending run for the Los Angeles Dodgers on a wild trip around the bases in the ninth inning on Wednesday, paying no mind to either a recent injury nor a stop sign from his third-base coach.
If it seems like the game has a way of finding Puig, it might be that Puig has a knack for finding the game -- and thrusting himself front and center into key moments.
With the tying run at first base and one out in the ninth inning while down a run to the Nationals, Puig sent a hard ground ball single up the middle and past diving Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa.
The Dodgers appeared to be in business with runners on first and second, but when Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor overran the ball, the track meet was on. Howie Kendrick scored easily. Puig's trip from home to home was a bit of an adventure. After all, it was only his second game back from a hamstring issue that had him on the disabled list.
"I was ready for the hit, and nobody thought that the ball would go through," Puig said through an interpreter. "So when I did see the ball go through, I had to talk to my hamstring so I can figure out how far I could go on the bases."
Puig had built such a head of steam heading toward third base that even if he had seen his coach Chris Woodward way up the line, putting up a stop sign that he hardly seemed committed to, Puig wouldn't have been able to put on the brakes anyway.
Puig stormed past third, raced past Woodward -- who was at that point raising his arms in triumph -- and belly flopped into home plate, even though the throw was nowhere near reaching the catcher in time. It was a Puig moment through and through.
"I didn't see [the stop sign]. I was listening to my hamstring and I was trying to figure out how far it could go," Puig said. "If it exploded there, that's what was going to happen, but I was able to make it home."
Puig's manager, Dave Roberts, could only smile afterward.
"You know what? There is something about Yasiel that is very fascinating," Roberts said. "You love him and you find yourself other times scratching your head. But he definitely brings energy, he can really defend and it's one of those things that you don't want to take your eyes off him because something might happen -- very good or maybe not so good."
Maybe Roberts should heed his own advice. When Puig's single raced into center, Roberts admitted to turning away and missing the error. He was tipped off to Puig's mad dash by the crowd and the erupting bench.
"I really didn't see what happened," he said. "I turned to see Yasiel scooting around the bases."