LOS ANGELES — What a way to begin Vin Scully’s final week of calling games at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers and Giants were embroiled in a classic confrontation in their series opener on Monday night that had just about everything.
There were two phenomenal pitching performances by starters Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw, as advertised.
There was a heated argument between Yasiel Puig and Bumgarner to end the seventh inning, over what boiled down to Bumgarner thinking Puig was staring him down. You know, the reason most conflicts start.
Bumgarner on Puig: "I just got him out. He tried to stare me down or something."— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) September 20, 2016
There was the bizarre decision by Bruce Bochy to remove a cruising -- and perhaps crazy, sure — Bumgarner after the showdown with Puig, and after just 97 pitches.
Bochy said he talked to Bumgarner after benches cleared. "I'll leave it at that." Said it was a manager's decision.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) September 20, 2016
Bumgarner on exit: "You want to say go until I can't go anymore, but the tank's running low for sure."— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 20, 2016
“To see him come out, that was quite a relief for us,” manager Dave Roberts said.
There was Andrew Toles — Roberts with his praise: “He’s a baseball player.” — in the middle of another Dodgers comeback rally. Or at the start of one in this case, leading off the ninth inning with the first of four straight Dodgers hits to steal the win.’
"There is always an expectation for our guys now, the belief to win any game, to pass the baton,” Roberts said. “When it gets hot and stressful, you see the at-bats getting better and better. it took a collective effort.”
San Francisco blew their sixth save in the ninth inning or later in September alone. This one went to Hunter Strickland, who joins Santiago Casilla (three times), Joe Nathan and Steven Okert in the Giants’ unfortunate club.
The Dodgers bullpen trio of Pedro Baez, Grant Dayton and Joe Blanton combined to retire all nine batters they faced, two by strikeout, to close out the win.
Corey Seager slid home with the winning run, his 99th run scored of the season, one shy of becoming the first Dodger with 100 runs scored since Matt Kemp (115) in 2011. Seager owns the LA Dodgers rookie record for runs; the only Dodgers rookies to score 100 all were in Brooklyn — Johnny Frederick (1929) 127 runs, Jackie Robinson (1949) 125 and Jim Gilliam (1953) 125.
Then at the end there was Adrian Gonzalez, who doubled home the game-winner for the 10th walk-off RBI of his career. His last three have all come against the Giants — also on Sept. 12, 2013 and Aug. 31, 2015 as well.
Gonzalez had one of the quotes of the night, about the fracas.
One more, from Adrian Gonzalez: "I think it was just a matter of some people not walking to their dugout like they should have.”— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) September 20, 2016
The Dodgers turn to Rich Hill in the middle game of the series, making his fifth start as a Dodger and his second against the Giants since joining LA. It’s a great matchup, with Johnny Cueto on the hill for San Francisco in another 7:10 p.m. PT start.
Tuesday night’s game will be televised, in addition to SportsNet LA, on ESPN2, with the latter a national telecast that won’t be blacked out in LA and SF markets.