A rivalry seemingly three seasons in the running ignited once again Monday night when Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner exchanged words at the end of the seventh inning.
It was the third dust-up between the adversaries since May 2014, and second time it led to benches clearing. Monday’s shoving match also included the Dodgers and Giants bullpens spilling onto the field.
Bumgarner yelled, “[expletive] yeah,” in Puig’s general direction, but not necessarily at the mercurial outfielder, out of excitement after fielding a tapper up the line and throwing to third base for the final out of the seventh inning.
Puig turned around after running through first base and locked eyes with Bumgarner. “Don’t look at me,” Bumgarner appeared to tell Puig, repeating himself with an expletive mixed in.
“I just ran and he was looking in my direction. He asked why I was looking at him, but he was looking at me,” Puig said through a translator.
Bumgarner was pinch-hit for with one out in the eighth inning. The decision was a curious one considering he’d held the Dodgers to one hit and had 10 strikeouts to that point. He threw 97 pitches over seven innings.
The one hit Bumgarner allowed was a two-out, line-drive double to Puig in the second inning. “Maybe because I had the only hit, it made him get angry,” Puig said. “Every time I face him it seems like we have those problems. But it seems to work out, because we win.”
In May 2014, Puig was met at home plate by Bumgarner after hitting a solo home run that included a bat flip. There was a brief exchange, but the home plate umpire and Giants catcher Buster Posey intervened to prevent the situation from escalating.
Then in September of that year, Puig and Bumgarner had to be separated after Puig was hit by a pitch on the back of his ankle. He dropped to the ground and turned to look at Bumgarner, prompting the left-hander to shout out the familiar, “Don’t look at me.”
Puig rose to his feet, began to make his way toward the mound and benches cleared. The multiple issues with Bumgarner wasn’t lost on Puig. “We’re tired of it,” he said Monday night.
“But every time this seems to happen with San Francisco, we’re able to come together and win the game.”