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Puig, Dodgers go triple-crazy in 8-1 win over Giants in series opener

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SAN FRANCISCO - Yasiel Puig was excited for his first start of the season in centre field because it gave him more room to run and show off his unbelievable athleticism.

Instead, Puig's performance will be remembered for what he did with his bat and on the bases.

Puig tied a franchise record with three triples and added a double and two RBIs as the Los Angeles Dodgers moved within a half-game of NL West-leading San Francisco by beating the Giants 8-1 on Friday night.

"I'm tired," Puig said, shaking his head after sitting in the training room for more than 30 minutes wrapped in ice packs. "I was just trying to hit the ball where nobody was."

The Dodgers matched a club record with five triples, including three during a five-run fifth inning that chased Tim Lincecum (9-7). It was the most triples in a game for the franchise since 1921 and most by a Dodgers player since Brooklyn's Jimmy Sheckard had three in 1901.

"That's crazy. I've never seen anything like that," said Matt Kemp, who had three hits — including a triple — after shifting from centre to right field.

Zack Greinke (12-6) tossed seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out 10 and walking one. Tyler Colvin hit an RBI single in the ninth for San Francisco's only run.

Greinke recorded another rare feat on a night full of them: he struck out four batters in the third inning after a wild pitch allowed Hunter Pence to reach base on a swinging strike three.

Even with all of Greinke's greatness, the game belonged to Puig and the triple-crazed hitters in blue.

The performances at the plate came after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly shook up his crowded outfield, putting Puig in centre, Kemp in right, and Carl Crawford in left.

Puig got things going with a hard-hit fly ball to centre with one out in the first inning, flipping his bat as he sprinted out of the box. Two fans — one wearing a Giants jersey, the other in a Dodgers uniform — battled for the ball as it approached the wall, knocking it back on the field.

Puig hustled to third, and umpires kept him there following a video review. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a sharp single to right to score Puig and give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.

The Dodgers did most of their damage in a wild fifth. Puig and Dee Gordon hit back-to-back RBI triples, and Kemp had a two-run triple as the Dodgers scored five runs in the inning.

"I got away from my plan. I didn't throw as many breaking balls and sliders as I wanted to. I think those have been kind of the equalizer for me in keeping guys honest," Lincecum said.

Puig added his third triple to right-centre off Juan Gutierrez in the sixth to extend the Dodgers' lead to 7-0. He thought he had another extra-base hit when he flied out to deep centre in the eighth.

The last player with three triples in a game was Denard Span for Minnesota in 2010.

"It was pretty awesome. Hopefully it happens a lot," Greinke said.

Lincecum was charged with six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. His start came after getting two outs in Tuesday night's 14-inning win in Philadelphia for his first career save.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he didn't expect Lincecum to be tired from the extra appearance because the right-hander usually throws a bullpen session on that day between starts. Either way, it was Lincecum's worst start since he gave up eight runs in 4 1-3 innings at Cincinnati on June 3.

The night was even shorter for his catcher.

Hector Sanchez sustained a concussion after taking a foul tip from Gonzalez off his mask in the third. Sanchez struck out in the bottom of the inning before Buster Posey moved from first to catcher to begin the fourth.

Bochy said the Giants will likely put Sanchez on the concussion list on Saturday and add a player to the roster.

NOTES: Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez returned after missing three games with a left wrist injury. He went 2 for 5 with one RBI. ... The announced crowd of 41,753 was San Francisco's 300th consecutive regular-season sellout. ... Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.92 ERA) starts opposite Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.99 ERA) on Saturday night.

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