Inside pitch gives rivalry a charge
Like in the old days, the benches cleared. Voices were raised. Fingers were pointed. Teammates had to be restrained.
“I think it was just the intensity of the series,” Manager Joe Torre said of the fifth-inning fracas Wednesday during which the Dodgers and Giants nearly came to blows.
Sparking the incident was the first pitch that Dodgers reliever James McDonald threw to Pablo Sandoval -- a pitch Sandoval said hit him on the left elbow.
“I wasn’t trying to hit him,” McDonald said.
But Sandoval gestured to McDonald and started walking toward the mound.
“I told him to go to first base,” McDonald said.
Home plate umpire Paul Emmel not only intercepted Sandoval, he managed to keep catcher Russell Martin away from him.
Martin said Sandoval initiated the confrontation by saying something to McDonald.
“I didn’t like that,” said Martin, who screamed at Sandoval as he was restrained by teammates who rushed to his defense.
Not a single punch was thrown. Not a single player was ejected.
“I think the umpires did the right thing -- the warning because of the bench clearing,” Torre said. “I think they understood that in a close game like that, especially with a man on base, you’re certainly not going to do anything like that.”
Once the activity subsided, Sandoval was told by Emmel he had fouled off the pitch -- and again threw a fit. He eventually drew a walk.
Sandoval later said he was ashamed of the way he acted.
“I don’t play like that,” he said. “I play the game right. I don’t do that. A guy hits me, I go to first base. I feel bad. I got to first base and thought to myself, ‘I need to calm down. I need to calm down.’ ”
Martin said that pitch inside had nothing to do with the previous play, in which a sliding Eugenio Velez upended him at the plate as he reached up to grab a throw by Matt Kemp. Velez’s run was the first of the game.
“That was right after?” Martin asked. “I didn’t even think about that. The guy is sliding, trying to be safe. I’m trying to catch the ball. That’s it. It really wasn’t retaliation. I’m glad he slid because if he doesn’t slide, I get knocked off. He came up to me after and said, ‘Are you OK?’ ”
Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on the eve of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, George Sherrill hasn’t given up a run in his seven appearances with the Dodgers.
Sherrill, whose first five seasons in the majors were spent in the American League, extended his scoreless streak with the Dodgers to 7 1/3 innings Wednesday by shutting out the Giants in the eighth and ninth innings.
“They haven’t seen me either,” Sherrill said of National League hitters. “It’s kind of a two-way street. Hitting a ball with a bat is the hardest thing to do in sports, so I have the upper hand.”
Orlando Hudson, who is recovering from a strained left groin he suffered Monday, struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. Hudson is expected to be back in the lineup when the Dodgers resume play Friday in Arizona . . . Giants closer Brian Wilson said his feud with Casey Blake is over. When the Dodgers faced the Giants in May, Blake mocked a cross-armed gesture that Wilson makes after every save to honor his religion and deceased father. Blake said he didn’t know what the gesture signified. Wilson downplayed the significance of his 10th-inning strikeout of Blake. “It’s not like striking a guy out is getting back at somebody,” Wilson said.