LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig looked disappointed, to put it mildly. The mercurial Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder — whose temper has gotten him in trouble before — tossed his bat up after fouling off a 1-1 offering from Giants reliever Tony Watson and smacked it out of the air with his palm.
Normally mild-mannered San Francisco Giants catcher Nick Hundley said something behind his mask. He wouldn’t say what that was, but it appeared to be along the lines of “get back in the box.” Puig took exception. He shoved Hundley, Hundley smacked his hands away. He shoved Hundley again, and the benches emptied.
Via interpreter, Puig said that Hundley “told me to stop complaining and step back in the box … he just kept coming after me and kept complaining. I wasn’t going to let them disrespect our house.”
“It’s not my job to comment on his behavior, like it’s not his job to comment on my behavior,” Hundley said. “We all make our own choices, and we both made the choice to get in each other’s face, and we both made the choice to go at it.”
Both Hundley and Puig were ejected from Tuesday’s 2-1 Giants win, a game that closed the gap between the two rivals to three games in the standings. Los Angeles has lost seven of its last 10, and San Francisco clinched a series win with its second late-inning win in two nights, and its fourth victory in its last five games.
“They’ve been scuffling a bit, and we’re trying to catch ’em,” Hundley said. “It’s obviously a nice rivalry. We had some words. Pushed a couple times, and you saw what happened. There’s really nothing more to it than that.”
According to home plate umpire Eric Cooper, all one had to do is “Watch the tape. You’ll see why [Hundley] had to be ejected.”
“They said that we went at each other, and obviously, I disagreed with being tossed,” said Hundley, who protested the ejection along with manager Bruce Bochy. “It’s one of those things that I wish I was able to stay in the game, but that’s their call, and if you get into a brawl, you probably put yourself at the mercy of your decisions.”
“There’s no question their guy was the one who got physical,” Bochy said.
That brawl was the biggest between the two teams since Puig — again — was at the center of a tiff with Madison Bumgarner back in September of 2016.
After Hundley’s initial reaction to Puig, both benches emptied, and Hundley was pulled away by Dodgers third base coach George Lombard. With Hundley’s hands pinned, Puig got loose and took another swipe at Hundley’s mask.
“I saw him coming,” Hundley said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to defend myself in that spot, being tangled up with somebody else. The league will look at that. That’s something that’s up to the league to discipline somebody. That’s not my job to enforce any behavioral stuff.”
Hundley was then taken to the ground by Lombard, and separated from the fray by Hunter Pence, as the fight cloud pressed up against the screen behind home plate.
“He was in there trying to break it up, and I got tangled up with him, and I think he got caught up in my chest protector,” Hundley said of Lombard. “We went down and I knew I was on top of him at some point. He’s right there, I’m right there, I asked him if he was alright. We don’t want anybody to get hurt in those situations.”
Buster Posey — who moved from first to catcher after the brawl — was on the field separating players, as well.
“I was proud of our guys,” Hundley said. “They were in there in a heartbeat. That’s something that’s going to bring us closer together. This is a really tight knit group. We’ll feed off that. What a great win.”
Hundley did not think he would face any further discipline from the league.
“I didn’t swing,” he said. “I was defending myself. He was defending himself. I don’t see why it should go any farther than that.”
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