Up-and-in pitch clears SD, LA benches amid perfecto bid

April 14th, 2024

The fierce rivalry between the Padres and Dodgers nearly added another chapter of intrigue in the fifth inning of Los Angeles' 5-2 win vs. San Diego at Dodger Stadium, with both benches clearing after a pitch from Gavin Stone nearly hit San Diego's Jurickson Profar.

Stone, who had retired the first 13 batters he faced when Profar stepped into the box, threw a 92 mph fastball up and in to Profar one pitch after the 11-year veteran showed bunt. Profar immediately turned back to Stone, then had words with Dodgers catcher Will Smith before the benches cleared. After a few moments without any activity, both benches retreated and play resumed.

“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.”

Tensions between the two NL West rivals have escalated in recent years, with the Dodgers eliminating the Padres in the 2020 NLDS on their way to a World Series title, and San Diego ousting L.A. in the NLDS two years later.

When asked if he thought that Padres suspected that he would intentionally attempt to hit a batter while throwing a perfect game, Stone responded, "I don't know. I don't know. Maybe."

"You've got to be able to throw inside," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Obviously, with one out in a one-run ballgame, the pitcher is not going to throw at a hitter. You can't afford a baserunner, so I don't understand if that was gamesmanship or what? And Will [Smith] kind of tried to let him know that we're not throwing at you, just get back in the box and play the game."

Stone allowed his first baserunner of Saturday's game with a walk to Tyler Wade leading off the sixth, and he lost his bid for a no-hitter two batters later on a clean single by Kyle Higashioka.

“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.”

“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.”