So did Angels catcher Hank Conger, who was running from first base on the 3-2 pitch that pinch-hitter David Freese lined to center off Dan Haren with the Dodgers up, 2-0. The play was right in front of Conger and he figured the head start he got running on the pitch was enough to get him to third base.
"By the time I hit second, I was like, 'All right, I got this,'" said Conger, who was the Angels' first baserunner of the game against Dan Haren. "I was running through the bag, running hard. I mean, he's got a cannon. Showed it off tonight."
Puig's one-hop throw, a quick tag by third baseman Justin Turner and a bent-leg slide by Conger combined to give Puig his eighth assist of the season and torpedo a budding rally in the Dodgers' eventual 2-1 win over the Angels.
"It's a game-changer," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "That changed the complexion of the game. That changed Danny's start. Just a great, accurate throw."
Only Monday night, Puig exasperated his club with a lackadaisical catch that allowed Albert Pujols to take an extra base, after showing up Angels runner Howie Kendrick with a finger wag from the outfield.
"That was huge," Mattingly said of Puig's assist. "But all night long we saw what we want from him. He hit the cutoff man in the eighth when they scored instead of trying to throw the guy out. And the throw to third, that was a huge out for us."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.