SAN FRANCISCO -- Yasiel Puig was excited before Friday night's game against the San Francisco Giants because he would be making his first start of the season in center field.
Afterward, the entire Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse was abuzz about Puig's performance, and it had nothing to do with his flawless night in the field.
Right-hander Zack Greinke had 10 strikeouts in seven innings of shutout ball and Puig became the first Dodger in 113 years to belt three triples in a game, propelling Los Angeles to an 8-1 victory over the Giants in the opener of a three-game series between the National League West front-runners on Friday night.
"Crazy, man. I've never seen anything like that," Dodgers right fielder Matt Kemp gushed about his teammate's first-, fifth- and sixth-inning triples. "Everybody contributed. It was one of those games were everybody was hitting the ball hard."
The win allowed the second-place Dodgers (57-47) to move within a half-game of the division-leading Giants (57-46), with L.A. ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw scheduled to start Game 2 of the series Saturday night.
The Dodgers had lost seven of 10 and all three previous series against the Giants in April and May.
"They said I was the second (Dodger) to achieve it," Puig said of the three-triple game. "It's important to achieve it, but it's most important to play for the playoffs and the World Series."
In snapping his two-game losing streak, Greinke (12-6) beat the Giants for the third time this season, limiting them to four hits and one walk in seven innings. He allowed only one Giants baserunner past first base.
The right-hander's night also featured a rare four-strikeout third inning, one in which Giants right fielder Hunter Pence reached base after striking out on a pitch in the dirt that eluded Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis.
"At the time, I wasn't really thinking about it. I wasn't pitching very well then," Greinke said of the four-strikeout inning, the first in the majors this season. "When Pence got on base, I knew (Giants catcher Buster) Posey was coming up (after center fielder Gregor Blanco), so I had to get the next guy out."
Greinke also helped his own cause with a single that ignited a five-run fifth inning and ended the night for Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum.
After Puig tripled and scored in the first inning, the Dodgers led just 1-0 with one out and nobody on in the fifth before Greinke lined a single up the middle off Lincecum.
"Really kinda lucky," Greinke said of the hit. "It was my first hit in about a month. I'll take it."
Second baseman Dee Gordon and Puig followed with consecutive RBI triples to make it 3-0, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who had singled in Puig in the first, did it again in the fifth for a four-run lead.
Lincecum was pulled after shortstop Hanley Ramirez singled for the Dodgers' fifth consecutive hit. He and Gonzalez both scored when Kemp smacked L.A.'s third triple of the inning, a two-out, two-run shot to right-center field off right-handed reliever Juan Gutierrez that made it 6-0.
"The way we scored some runs, that always quiets this crowd," Greinke said of playing in front of the Giants' 300th consecutive sellout, the longest active streak in the majors. "The main thing was: We scored a bunch of runs and that made things easier."
Puig, making his first start since Saturday after having been hit by a pitch on the left hand in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, tripled for a third time in the sixth, again driving in Gordon. It made him the first Dodger since Jimmy Sheckard in 1901 with three triples in a game. The last major leaguer to record the feat was Denard Span, then of the Minnesota Twins, in 2010.
Puig also doubled in the second inning and flied deep to center field in the eighth on a 4-for-5 night. His three consecutive hits off Lincecum gave him a career batting average of .615 (8-for-13) against the former two-time Cy Young Award winner.
"Pretty awesome," Greinke observed. "Hopefully, it happens a lot."
The Dodgers' five triples equaled a franchise record set in 1902 and later matched in 1921.
Gordon and Kemp had three hits apiece for the Dodgers, who outhit the Giants 15-7.
"I tried to overpower guys with fastballs and left them up in the zone," Lincecum assessed of his dismal night, one that began with a 27-inning scoreless streak at AT&T Park. "I know I could have been one pitch away from getting out of that (fifth) inning. But they put it together on me."
Reserve left fielder Tyler Colvin's two-out RBI single in the ninth inning off Dodgers left-handed reliever Paul Maholm scored the only run for the Giants, who lost for the 17th time in their last 23 home games.
Lincecum was charged with all five runs in the fifth inning and six overall in 4 1/3 innings. After having allowed only 15 hits in his previous five starts, he was tagged for nine hits by the Dodgers. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
"We made some mistakes," Giants manager Bruce Bochy assessed of Puig's performance, "and good hitters take advantage of it."