LOS ANGELES -- Albert Pujols insisted that he was just playing within the confines of the game, because the Angels' lead was only five and the Dodgers' high-powered offense would still get to bat a couple more times.
In the process, though, the Angels' veteran first baseman might have taught the young, eccentric Yasiel Puig a valuable lesson.
That lesson: Never forget about the runner on base, no matter who he is and where he's stationed.
Pujols led off Monday's top of the eighth with a single, then advanced to second after Josh Hamilton flied out to center field because Puig lazily caught it as he drifted a few steps. Two innings earlier, Puig took the opposite approach, quickly turning after making a catch in right-center field to almost double up Erick Aybar at first, then playfully shot a finger wag in the direction of the Angels' shortstop.
"I'm just doing my job, trying to get into scoring position," Pujols said after the Angels' 5-0 win at Dodger Stadium.
Puig -- playfully, it seems -- mocked Pujols one play later, catching a fly ball from Aybar and waving his right hand, daring him to tag up and go to third. After the inning, Pujols laughed as he jogged back to the dugout and mimicked the way Puig caught Hamilton's fly ball.
"He can have fun; I'm having fun, too," Pujols said.
"I hope he learns a lesson from it," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Puig. "Albert knows how to play the game. Albert takes a few hard steps and if Yasiel comes up throwing, he stops. He drops his head and Albert knows there's no play. We talked about them being an aggressive team. If you don't pay attention, they will embarrass you, and he embarrassed him there."
Puig, speaking through a translator, admitted he was "surprised" Pujols tagged up, but added that the play didn't bother him.
"Why would that bother me?" Puig said. "He was doing a great job. I've done the same thing."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.