Another pitcher falls victim to a Muncy one-liner
PHILADELPHIA -- The Dodgers took exception to Phillies closer Hector Neris' reaction after he closed out the save in Thursday's series finale at Citizens Bank Park.
The Dodgers' 7-6 loss ended a split of a wild series that featured a pair of Philadelphia pitchers being ejected, including Neris just two nights earlier. He was ejected for hitting David Freese with a pitch near the head area immediately after allowing a go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth on Tuesday -- and Neris was then issued a three-game suspension by Major League Baseball. Neris, who is appealing that suspension, appeared to look toward the Dodgers' dugout after closing out Thursday's 7-6 win.
"Well, Neris got the save and he looked right in our dugout, screamed as loud as he can and yelled, ‘[Expletive] you,’" said Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy. "He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years, so I guess he was finally excited he got one. Whatever."
This wasn't the first time Muncy has had something to say about an opposing pitcher's behavior. After jawing back and forth with Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner on June 9 following a home run into McCovey Cove, Muncy famously said after the game that he told Bumgarner, "If you don't want me to watch the ball, you can get it out of the ocean."
The Dodgers won that game against the Giants, but this time Muncy's one-liner followed a loss.
“The last out, obviously, [it was a] hard-fought series," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts added. "He’s a guy that got suspended for throwing at our guy a few nights ago, and obviously he’s appealing, and he was emotional with the save. A big win for them. I think that we played this game, this series, the right way. Played it straight.
"So to look in our dugout and to taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. So, for our guys, who just played the game to win and played it straight and clean -- the last game of a series -- to look in our dugout, I think that exceeds the emotion. Look in your own dugout. So I think our guys took it personal. I took it personal.”
Neris entered with a 7-5 lead to start the ninth and recorded a pair of outs before serving up a solo homer to Alex Verdugo. Justin Turner followed with a fly ball to deep right-center, but Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper tracked it down for the final out.
Neris blew the save in Tuesday's game prior to his ejection, though the Phillies rallied for a 9-8 victory. He also took the loss in a June 1 game at Dodger Stadium after allowing a walk-off homer to Will Smith in a tie game.
Neris has only one other blown save against the Dodgers, albeit a relatively memorable one that came on April 29, 2017. Entering with a 5-2 lead, Neris allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger and Turner. The Dodgers won that game on a walk-off RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez after Neris had departed.
For his part, Neris told reporters he was just expressing emotion after a big win. The Dodgers stared back out at the mound, but the situation did not escalate any further.
"You can just watch the replay and look at our dugout. Not one person moved," Muncy said. "We were all there sticking up for each other, and that’s the kind of team we have."
That marked an end to a tension-filled series that featured controversies beyond Neris' ejection and subsequent suspension. In Monday's series opener, fellow Phillies reliever Yacksel Rios was ejected for hitting Turner with a pitch after Rios had allowed three straight hits to begin his outing, the last of which was a two-run homer that extended the Dodgers' lead to 12-1 at the time.
As for Thursday's game, Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins had his ankle clipped by Muncy and Matt Beaty on back-to-back plays in the top of the fourth. Muncy immediately turned to apologize to Hoskins after he crossed the bag.
"It was a total accident," Muncy said. "At the last second, I lunged and when I turned, I kind of clipped his ankle. [His ankle] wasn’t in the middle of the bag, but it was on a good part of the bag. Total accident. I tried to apologize right away. I felt really bad about it. It definitely wasn’t on purpose."
Hoskins also seemed to brush those plays aside after the game.
"Each time those guys crossed the bag and hit the foot, they turned right away to say sorry," said Hoskins, who added he wasn't sure what happened following the final out. "I even checked with their first-base coach to see if I was too far on the bag."