Benches clear in LA after Waino plunks Puig
Adrian, Molina exchange words at home plate, sending teams onto the field
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig had a tough night, and it showed. After some time in the training room postgame, the Dodgers' center fielder limped to his locker and had some trouble pulling on his shirt and jeans, gingerly stepping into each pant leg without bending his knees, leaning on a swivel chair as he did so.
The one thing Puig was clear about, though, after Friday night's 10-9 loss to the Cardinals in Game 1 of their National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium is that he wasn't hurting from the Adam Wainwright pitch that struck him in the left shoulder to open the third inning, causing the benches and bullpens to clear.
"He didn't hit me on purpose," Puig said through an interpreter. "I made my way to first base and I didn't know what was going on. There was a confrontation. I guess there was some concern expressed about the history of the whole thing. But I wasn't clear about it."
Puig was hit with a 1-1 pitch and began to trot down to first base without looking at Wainwright in what would open a two-run third-inning rally that eventually extended to a 6-1 Dodgers lead by the end of the fifth. Puig scored in the third and had an RBI single in the fourth. Ultimately, he struck out swinging to end the game against Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal with the tying run just 90 feet away.
It was Adrian Gonzalez, the next Dodgers hitter due up in the third, who went to the plate and exchanged words with Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, sending both teams onto the field.
"I just basically said, 'You guys keep doing this over and over and I'm not going to put up with that,'" Gonzalez said. "They're going to say it's not being done on purpose, but come on, Wainwright knows where the ball's going."
Asked how Molina responded, Gonzalez added: "He said, 'You've got to respect things.' I thought that was out of context."
Molina sounded just as confused.
"I was walking back to home plate and I saw [Gonzalez] do his thing to me," Molina said. "I didn't understand what he said, so I asked him in my own words about what he said. We've got two teams competing. I mean, that's what happened."
Here's the history: Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in last year's NL Championship Series at Busch Stadium. The pitch injured his ribs, and Ramirez batted .133 (2-for-15) in the series, which the Cards won in six games.
Since then, Ramirez was hit twice by Cardinals pitchers in the same game in St. Louis on July 20 -- by Carlos Martinez first and later in the game by Rosenthal. Kershaw also hit Matt Holliday in the middle of that July game, the last time the two teams met.
"I know that they will say this is what happened last year and this year they don't want the same thing," Molina said. "Obviously, they will [talk] about it, but at the same time, just [talk], don't scream about it. Have some respect, too."
As the tumult subsided, it was Wainwright who approached Puig near first base and made peace by putting his arm around his broad shoulders, telling him he was sorry.
"I was already kind of behind the rubber when I heard the crowd and I turned around and something was going on," Wainwright said. "Honestly, I have no idea what started it or how it happened and I walked over to Yasiel and said, 'That was my bad, I didn't mean to do that.' I just didn't want it to be a side show. I didn't want their team all fired up at us. Obviously, you don't want to wake a sleeping dog and I didn't want our team to lose its focus. So I just tried to clear the air there."
Puig said he appreciated the gesture.
"He told me it wasn't intentional and I knew that was true," Puig said. "We were just chatting about the fact that there seemed to be a misunderstanding there."