Gregor Blanco was busy in center field for the San Francisco Giants for all the wrong reasons.
Yasiel Puig hit three of five franchise-record tying triples, and 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 thought, `Oh my God. They are hitting,'” Blanco said. “They were aggressive the whole game and hitting the ball good.”
The Dodgers smacked three triples 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 Puig had the most by a Dodgers player since Brooklyn’s Jimmy Sheckard had three in 1901.
“We made some mistakes and he took advantage,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Puig.
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 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 center, moving Matt Kemp – who had three hits, including a triple – to right, and starting Carl Crawford in left.
Puig got things going with a hard-hit fly ball to center 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.
“I got away from my plan. I didn’t throw as many breaking balls and sliders as I wanted to,” Lincecum said. “I think those have been kind of the equalizer for me in keeping guys honest.”
Puig added his third triple to right-center 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 center in the eighth.
The last player with three triples in a game was Denard Span for Minnesota in 2010.
“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.”
Lincecum was charged with six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. His start came after he got two outs in Tuesday night’s 14-inning win at Philadelphia for his first career save.
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 got 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: The announced crowd of 41,753 was San Francisco’s 300th consecutive regular-season home sellout. … Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.92 ERA) starts opposite Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.99 ERA) on Saturday night.
Updated July 26, 2014