LOS ANGELES -- Manny Machado is making a name for himself in ways both welcome and unwanted in this National League Championship Series.Before he hit a broken-bat single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and jetted home on Cody Bellinger's walk-off single to right field in the 13th inning
LOS ANGELES -- Manny Machado is making a name for himself in ways both welcome and unwanted in this National League Championship Series.
Before he hit a broken-bat single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and jetted home on Cody Bellinger's walk-off single to right field in the 13th inning in a 2-1 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, Machado answered criticism in an FS1 interview about not running hard down the first-base line in Game 2. He said he will never be "Johnny Hustle" and that running down the line and sliding into bases is not his "cup of tea."
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Ironically, Machado sparked controversy when he hustled down the line on a groundout in the 10th, and helped win the game with two effort plays in the 13th.
In the 10th, Machado dragged his left leg into Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar's back leg as he crossed first base. The contact angered Aguilar, leading to a heated exchange and clearing both benches and bullpens.
"It's a dirty play by a dirty player," Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich said.
"It looked like it," Aguilar said. "I've known Manny for many years and I don't know why he would act like that."
Brewers manager Craig Counsell threw shade at Machado when asked if the play went beyond the grounds of hard play.
"I don't know," he said. "I guess they got tangled up at first base. I don't think he's playing all that hard."
Machado professed that he could not get out of the way of Aguilar's leg, although he never raised his own leg to avoid it.
"If that's dirty, that's dirty," Machado said. "I don't know, call it what you want. I play baseball. I try to go out there and win for my team. If that's their comments, that's their comments. I can't do nothing about that."
Aguilar and Machado chatted at first base in the 13th inning, with Aguilar patting Machado at one point.
"We talked," Aguilar said. "It's over. For me, it's over."
"We go way back," Machado said, referring to the pair playing against each other early in their Minor League careers. "Whatever happens on the field … stays between the lines."
But it might not be finished for Aguilar's teammates.
"I saw it from center field," Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "I'll have to get in there and look at it to really give you my opinion. Nobody wants to get their ankle stepped on. I'll look at it, and if it looks dirty, we'll see what happens."
"You can't respect someone who plays the game like that," Yelich said. "I don't know what his problem is, honestly."
It should make the NLCS more interesting with Game 5 this afternoon. It should make Machado's postseason more interesting, too. The baseball world is watching him as he prepares to enter the free-agent market in the offseason, when he hopes to fetch one of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history. Machado entered Game 4 hitting .455 (5-for-11) with one double, one home run and three RBIs. He was hitless in his first five plate appearances before singling in the 13th.
Todd Zolecki has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.