Manny Machado was fined $10,000 by Major League Baseball for an incident that sparked a benches-clearing spat between the Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Machado was not suspended and was in the Dodgers’ starting lineup for their 5-2 Game 5 win at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
The episode occurred in the 10th inning on Tuesday, when Machado hit a routine ground ball to shortstop. As he arrived at first base, he stepped on the bag with his right foot before appearing to kick the back of Jesus Aguilar’s foot.
Aguilar hobbled away from the base and exchanged words with Machado. Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. Order was quickly restored.
“He is a player that has a history with those types of incidents,” Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich told a crowd of reporters after the game. “One time is an accident. It’s repeated over and over again. It’s a dirty play. It’s a dirty play by a dirty player.”
Brewers infielder Travis Shaw also called it “a dirty play.” Aguilar said Machado had apologized to him, and the two players briefly hugged when Machado reached first base in the 13th and final inning. Machado would not discuss the conversation between the players.
“What stays on the field, stays on the field, between the lines,” Machado said.
What happened on the play?
“I was trying to get over him and hit his foot,” Machado said. “If that’s dirty, that’s dirty. I don’t know. Call it what you want.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts deflected the question of whether he understood why the Brewers were upset after the game. On Wednesday morning, hours before Game 5, Roberts was asked about the harsh postgame words from the opposing clubhouse.
“I don’t think we’re too concerned about any other teams’ comments about our players,” Roberts said. “I know speaking for Manny, he’s preparing to help us win today. And I feel the same thing about the rest of our players and coaches. So it’s really not at the forefront of our mind.”
Machado went on to ground into two double plays before he was hit by a pitch and intentionally walked on Wednesday. After the game, Machado said he did not believe the Brewers plunked him on purpose in retaliation and he declined to comment on his fine.
“I’m not talking about that,” Machado said. “I don’t care. I’m playing baseball. You want to ask me a baseball question, we’ll talk about it.”
Puig makes presence felt
Yasiel Puig didn’t start on Wednesday, but he seized the spotlight anyway. Pinch-hitting for Enrique Hernandez in the sixth inning, Puig delivered an RBI single, raising his arms in unbridled delight as soon as he made contact. Two innings later, he delivered a double and implored the crowd to make noise upon arriving at second base with rousing energy. He then bowed after stealing third base, though he had to return to second base after batter’s interference was called.
“God blessed me,” Puig said. “Finally I went two for two. I don’t remember the last time I went two for two. And coming off the bench, it’s a little difficult because, like we’ve said, their bullpen is really good.”
With his appearance on Wednesday, Puig has played in 51 playoff games for the Dodgers, tying Andre Either for the most in team history. His 43 career postseason hits are tied fifth all-time with Davey Lopes.
“That means a lot,” Puig said. “That makes me a little happy.”
Alford stayed for the duration
UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford was among the late-night crowd who stayed until the final pitch of Game 4. “All 13 innings,” Alford said. “It doesn’t get much better than 11:30 at night, ‘[I]’ love L.A. That was pretty cool.”