Dodgers get mad, Cards get even
Gonzalez and Grandal get tossed as St. Louis earns a split of the four-game series.
ST. LOUIS — To catch the pitch that incited the ire of Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina lifted his glove up and to his left. The location of the ball inf lamed a dispute between Gonzalez and umpire Marty Foster in the ninth inning of a 2-0 Dodgers loss. Gonzalez saw a ball, the fourth of the at-bat, and expected to trot to first base with a leadoff walk. Foster countered by pumping his fist for a called third strike.
Inside the dugout, as the Dodgers embarked on a futile rally against closer Seung-Hwang Oh, Gonzalez stewed. When Foster heard chirping from the bench, he ejected Gonzalez. After Gonzalez climbed the steps to jaw at Foster, the process repeated itself: Yasmani Grandal got thrown out for arguing about pitches up and away.
“The funniest thing is that [Foster] told Dave [Roberts] afterward that he’s been calling pitches off the plate all game, so he wasn’t going to change,” Gonzalez said. “So, apparently, he agreed that they were balls.”
The ninth-inning anger injected some emotion into an otherwise torpid game. The Dodgers went 0 for 6
with runners in scoring position and stranded seven all told. Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright silenced his guests for six innings and supplied the game’s only scoring, swatting a two-run homer against Brandon McCarthy. In the seventh and eighth, after Wainwright exited, the Dodgers grounded into two double plays.
The defeat left the Dodgers (3322) with a split of the four-game series. After scoring 14 runs in the first two games, they managed only one against Carlos Martinez on Wednesday and Wainwright on Thursday. And they departed with another injury concern for a pitcher, as McCarthy dealt with a blister on his right index finger and left after four innings.
Earlier in the week, a callus on his finger “flaked off,” McCarthy said. He noticed some irritation as he warmed up. McCarthy suggested that his blister did not appear to be as problematic as those that have sidetracked Rich Hill.
“I’ve dealt with them before,” McCarthy said. “I’ve never had them as serious as Rich [did]. His seem to be on a different level. Hopefully, this is one that they take care of, get out in front of, and a couple days later the whole thing dries out and we move on.”
McCarthy gave up seven hits and required 85 pitches to record 12 outs. His lone blemish, though, stemmed from a hanging curveball to Wainwright.
Since debuting in 2005, McCarthy had given up 128 home runs. None was hit by a pitcher. But Wainwright is far from feeble. Only two active pitchers, Madison Bumgarner and Yovani Gallardo, have hit more home runs than Wainwright, who now has 10.
Wainwright victimized McCarthy in the second inning. With two out and a runner at second, McCarthy released a 2-2 curveball that floated over the middle. Wainwright crushed it over the Dodgers bullpen in left field. The homer clanged off a fence, just above a scoreboard bearing McCarthy’s name, and bounced back onto the outfield.
“I know he can hit a little bit, and it’s a curveball, you’re not really expecting someone to jump it like that,” McCarthy said. “That’s a credit to him.
“He did what he had to do, and won the game for them.”
On the mound, Wainwright cannot be considered indomitable, not compared to his peak earlier this decade. The Dodgers tested him in the fourth with a leadoff double by rookie Cody Bellinger. Gonzalez flied out to right. After a walk by Chase Utley, Enrique Hernandez flied out too. A well-struck grounder by Austin Barnes died in the glove of Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who launched himself across the dirt to steal a potential hit.
An inning later, Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor stroked singles. Wainwright buckled down. He busted Corey Seager inside with a cutter for a soft groundout. Bellinger swung late at a cutter over the middle, managing a pop-up.
“We couldn’t get that hit when we needed,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Really didn’t stress Adam too much.”
It was all over, save for the double ejection. Gonzalez said he did not harangue Foster too harshly from the dugout. His ejection occurred after Roberts sent Grandal to the plate as a pinch-hitter. When Foster looked toward the dugout while the switch was happening, “somebody else might have said something that triggered him to throw me out,” Gonzalez said.
“I felt like I didn’t get thrown out because of something I said,” he continued. “So I might as well go out there and say more things.”
Gonzalez was more descriptive after the game than Grandal, who huffed past reporters as he declined to comment. As the Dodgers packed their bags to fly to Milwaukee, Gonzalez could not contain a grin as he tweaked the departing umpiring crew.
“I know they’ve got a plane to catch,” he said. “So they’re worried about other things.”
CARDINALS PITCHER Adam Wainwright takes a curtain call after hitting a two-run homer in the second inning.