NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig caused quite a stir in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night.
With a runner on third and two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning — and a run already in for L.A. — the rookie drilled a 2-1 pitch into right field. Thinking he hit a home run, Puig admired his shot, flipped his bat and lifted both his arms up in celebration, slowly walking toward first base.
The only problem? The ball didn’t leave the park.
The ball hit off the wall, but because Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran didn’t play it properly off the carom, the 22-year-old was still able to reach third base with an RBI triple.
Upon reaching third base, Puig kissed the sky and rejoiced vivaciously.
Some loved the Cuban sensation’s enthusiasm and the spark that he provided his team. Others, as they have all season, criticized Puig for showboating, being careless and not playing the game the right way.
Following the game — the Dodgers won, 3-0, to cut the Cards’ series lead to 2-1 — Beltran called out Puig for how he carried himself in the fourth inning.
“As a player, I just think he doesn’t know (about how to act),” the former Met said. “That’s what I think. He really doesn’t know. He must think that he’s still playing somewhere else. He has a lot of passion, no doubt about that — great ability, great talent. I think with time, he’ll learn that you’ve got to act with a little bit more calm.”
As is always the case with laid-back Beltran, he remained calm and didn’t let the incident faze him too much.
“I’m in the outfield,” the eight-time All-Star said. “I mean, it’s not great. To me, I don’t like it. But what can I say? I don’t play for them. I just play over here. I just need to do my job. It is what it is.”
Veteran teammate Carl Crawford admitted that he understands why opposing players don’t always appreciate Puig’s antics, but in the end, that’s just who he is.
“It’s Puig, man,” Crawford said, according to ESPN. “He’s been doing it all year. I mean, I know it’s one of those things where a rookie probably shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff. But they love it around here. So I guess it’s OK.”
Puig took the league by storm in 2013, batting .319 with 19 homers and 42 RBIs in 104 games.
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