The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers actually played a third straight baseball game without incident Tuesday night at Chase Field.
Sure, there were two batters hit by pitches — both thrown by pitchers who were central figures in the June 11 brawl at Dodger Stadium — but Los Angeles earned an uneventful 6-1 decision.
Well, relatively uneventful.
In the top of the fifth inning with the bases loaded, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez lifted a high fly ball to deep center field. Arizona center fielder Adam Eaton stumbled and dropped the ball, allowing two runs to score and extending the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0.
As the ball came into the infield, rookie Yasiel Puig, who had advanced to third, took off for home plate. D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius threw a one-hopper to catcher Miguel Montero, who applied the tag while bracing himself for a collision at the plate. As Puig walked toward the Dodgers’ first-base dugout, Montero gave the Cuban phenom a Dikembe Mutombo-style finger wag.
It was a strange sequence all the way around, but the weirdness was punctuated by Puig’s decision to try and score after the play was almost dead. Aggressive? Sure. Ill-advised? Definitely. Even legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully had trouble understanding Puig’s logic. “Why he tried to come in, you’d have to ask him,” he mused.
Arizona starting pitcher Ian Kennedy seemed to take exception to the play, and Puig’s overall style of play.
“He plays with a lot of arrogance,” Kennedy said about Puig. “You see that, I don’t know if it’s probably against us — he’s a good player, but I see a little more against us.
“(Montero) looked at him, and (I don’t know) if he was trying to run him over or what.”
The incident in L.A. last month began when Kennedy buzzed a fastball up and in to Puig that grazed his nose. The rookie stayed in the game after a long visit with the Dodgers training staff. Montero was plunked in the back by a Zack Greinke pitch later on, spurring Kennedy to throw high and tight to Greinke, hitting him in the shoulder and igniting one of the ugliest brawls the sport has seen in some time.
Puig was actually the last hitter Kennedy faced Tuesday night, walking on six pitches to load the bases in the sixth. The last pitch was a 93-MPH fastball that was in on Puig, who glared at Kennedy as he made his way to first base.
Kennedy did hit L.A. shortstop Hanley Ramirez with a changeup in the top of the first inning. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson told Burns and Gambo Tuesday on Arizona Sports 620 that Kennedy needs to continue to throw inside to be successful, and the right-hander agrees with his skipper’s sentiments, no matter how many feathers get ruffled.
“No matter what I do anymore, people are going to boo,” Kennedy said. “I’m going to hit people. It’s part of the game, it’s part of pitching inside.
“Some balls slip, it was a changeup. Last game, I threw up and in, and it was a curveball that slipped out of my hand. I’m going to get booed every single time and I really don’t care what the Dodgers think. To be honest, I really don’t care.”
The three-game series wraps up Wednesday night at Chase Field. The two teams will also meet seven times in September.