(BaseballStL) – The story of Friday night’s NLDS game between the Cardinals and Dodgers is the Redbirds’ incredible comeback off one of the best pitchers in baseball, but the game almost came to blows as the benches cleared in the third inning.
With the Cardinals up 1-0, Adam Wainwright had a sinker get away from him and hit Yasiel Puig in the left shoulder.
As the Dodgers’ center fielder walked down the first base line, his teammate Adrian Gonzalez got into an argument with catcher Yadier Molina and the benches cleared. Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny came rushing out of the dugout to restrain his All-Star catcher before he could be thrown out.
Matheny was clear after the game when he was asked about the incident.
“We’re not trying to hit anybody there.”
And why would the Cardinals intentionally hit Puig? The Cardinals had the one run lead and by the end of the third, they were tailing the Dodgers 2-1.
Animosity during the altercation most likely stems from last season’s NLCS where then-Cardinal pitcher Joe Kelly went up and in on Hanley Ramirez as he was hit in the ribs. The short stop was limited in his effectiveness as the Redbirds went on to win the series.
However, manager Don Mattingly brushed away any talk about the pitch being intentionally and instead focused on the team’s loss as the Dodgers gave up eight runs in the seventh inning.
“I don’t know,” he said, “I don’t really want to get into that. There’s no reason to get into it. It wasn’t really—I know it’s a good story and everybody likes writing it, but for us we got to win a game. It’s all about trying to win a game.”
“You’re not going to win anything with the macho thing on the field,” Mattingly continued, “So, it’s really just a matter of us trying to win a game.”
During the fisticuffs, the camera panned to a shot of Wainwright and Puig talking as the two walked down toward first base.
“I actually heard Wainwright say, ‘Hey, my bad.’ So, I mean, who knows. We don’t need to get into it. There’s no reason to,” Mattingly said.