Padres back Profar as benches clear amid perfect-game bid

April 14th, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- The Padres continue to show fight early in the 2024 season, literally and figuratively. It just wasn’t enough to overcome the Dodgers on Saturday night.

The Padres broke up Gavin Stone’s perfect-game bid in the sixth inning and staged a game-tying rally for the second straight night, but their bullpen collapsed to send them to a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers on a cold, rainy evening at Dodger Stadium. Left fielder was at the center of a benches-clearing incident in the fifth, an inning before the Padres finally broke through against Stone.

“It was just the heat of the moment,” Profar said. “I wasn’t trying to get the team energized or anything like that. We don’t need that. We have a good team. We don’t need any of that.”

The Padres waited out a two-hour, 15-minute rain delay and couldn’t get anything going against Stone once the game got underway. With the Padres trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Profar tried to provide a spark.

The 31-year-old veteran squared to bunt with Stone still in the middle of his perfect game before pulling the bat back. On the next pitch, Stone ran a fastball inside that nearly hit Profar in the right elbow. Profar stared Stone down and then began jawing with catcher Will Smith at the plate.

“Obviously I wasn't at the plate … and I don't know what was said, but you don't have to like that, nor should [Profar] like it,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “And if he had something to say, I support him completely.

“You take exception to a guy running something in on you tight. I think he maybe said something and maybe something was said back, I'm not really sure. We're not gonna start anything, but we're not gonna take anything.”

Home-plate umpire Chris Guccione stepped in between Profar and Stone to keep them separated, and both teams spilled out of their respective dugouts as the benches cleared. Both bullpens ran into the fray as well. No punches were thrown and no one was ejected.

Profar said he did not remember what was said between him and Smith. He also said he did not feel Stone threw at him intentionally.

“For a moment, I thought it was because of [the bunt] and he's throwing a perfect game,” Profar said. “But he wouldn't do that throwing a perfect game.”

Profar promptly flied out to center field once play resumed.

Coincidentally or not, the Padres finally broke through against Stone one inning later. Tyler Wade broke up the perfect game with a leadoff walk, Kyle Higashioka broke up the no-hitter with a single through the left side two batters later and Tatis ended the shutout with an RBI double to center that tied the score, 1-1.

Whatever momentum the Padres seized quickly evaporated. Left-handed reliever Tom Cosgrove, pitching for the second straight night, allowed three hits and three runs while getting only one out in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the lead right back to the Dodgers.

Cosgrove hit Max Muncy with a pitch to lead off the inning. After getting James Outman to fly out to right, Cosgrove gave up back-to-back-to-back ground ball singles to Kiké Hernández, Gavin Lux and Mookie Betts to allow the Dodgers to retake the lead for good.

“The ground-ball singles, if those balls are at somebody, we wouldn't even be talking about it,” Shildt said. “You're talking about three soft ground-ball base hits. Balls just found holes.”

The Padres didn’t go quietly, putting two runners on against Dodgers closer Evan Phillips in the ninth inning to bring the tying run to the plate. But Ha-Seong Kim and Wade both grounded out to end it, sending the Padres back under .500 at 8-9.