It’s not so nasty anymore, this rivalry. Still there, certainly, but in recent years Dodgers-Giants games have become an almost polite rivalry.
The roots run very deep, however, and Friday night the rivalry was freshened up a tad, intentionally or otherwise, during the Giants’ 3-1 victory before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 49,171.
No doubt the Giants were not thrilled when left-hander Paul Maholm, who’s new to these Dodgers-Giants dustups, hit first baseman Brandon Belt on the hand with a pitch in the second inning.
Belt, who leads the Giants with nine home runs, suffered a broken left thumb.
And very clearly, neither were they excited with Yasiel Puig’s reaction to hitting a sixth-inning solo home run.
Puig crushed a Madison Bumgarner fastball out to dead center, and reacted a tad too much to the Giants’ liking. He tossed his bat a few feet up the third-base line, took a little time getting out of the batter’s box and did not exactly sprint around the bases.
Individually, nothing was flagrantly over the top, but perhaps collectively it was too much for San Francisco.
As Puig rounded third and approached the plate, Bumgarner stepped forward and said something to him, and it’s probably safe to assume it wasn’t to compliment him on how nicely he filled out that uniform.
Puig answered back in kind and the two exchanged a few more words as Puig approached the plate, hands held outward to the left-hander in one of those what’s-your-problem gestures.
Catcher Buster Posey added a comment and the entire umpiring crew moved forward as both managers came out of the dugout. Posey appeared to say something to Mattingly, who quickly responded, but things did not escalate.
Mattingly, however, was clearly still miffed about the situation and apparently let his displeasure be known to home plate umpire Will Little, who very quickly ejected him. It was Mattingly’s first ejection of the season.
Meanwhile, almost lost in the testiness was the Dodgers again falling flat against the Giants. The defeat dropped them 4 1/2 games back of the Giants in the National League West and left them only one game above .500 (19-18).
Maholm again pitched pretty well, but a two-run homer by Brandon Crawford in the fifth inning broke open a scoreless game and the Giants added one more in the top of the sixth on a walk, stolen base and a run-scoring infield hit by Joaquin Arias, who had replaced Belt.
Maholm went 5 2/3 innings, giving up the three runs on three hits and four walks (one intentional). He struck out two.
Very solid but not enough to overcome Bumgarner (4-3), who surrendered the one run on Puig's homer. He went eight innings, giving up four hits, walking one and striking out eight.