Madison Bumgarner was unflappable through 6.2 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night. The San Francisco Giants held a 1-0 lead when Yasiel Puig stepped to the plate. His innocent tapper up the line led to Bumgarner’s unraveling.
He yelled out of excitement in Puig’s general direction upon recording the final out of the inning. Puig turned around after running through first base, seemingly unaware of what Bumgarner had just said.
The fiery southpaw then shouted at Puig not to look at him, to which Puig appeared to respond with, “What? What are you going to do to me?” Bumgarner continued to spout off, mixing in expletives.
Benches and bullpens emptied onto the field. There was plenty of shoving and posturing, but that was the extent of it. “I got him out, and he tried to stare me down or something,” Bumgarner said of the incident. “I don’t know. That’s what it looked like to me.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy elected to pinch-hit for his ace with one out in the eighth inning. Bumgarner was at 97 pitches, which coupled with the Giants’ shaky bullpen, made Bochy’s decision a curious one.
Neither the manager, nor Bumgarner, offered much explanation for the move. “You don’t ever want to come out of the game but at the same time you have to be smart about it,” Bumgarner said.
Bochy would only say he spoke with Bumgarner, refusing to offer additional details when pressed on the matter. The confrontation was the third in the past three seasons between Bumgarner in Puig.
The left-handed ace took exception to Puig’s bat flip on a solo home run during a May 2014 game at Dodger Stadium. Then in September of that year, Bumgarner hit Puig with a pitch, which sparked more “Don’t look at me” banter and shoving.
Puig said after Monday’s game he was confused by Bumgarner’s message, considering it was Bumgarner who was first to stare.