The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped out to an early lead in Monday’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies, then had to fight for the next few innings before breaking the game open in the sixth.
With the game tied, Carl Crawford was hit by a pitch and it was followed by consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. Justin Turner pinch-hit and defied the Dodgers’ season-long woes with the bases loaded by hitting a two-run double.
The Dodgers would go on to score six more runs in the inning that also Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig exchanging words in the dugout that ended once manager Don Mattingly separated the players.
What caused the altercation is unclear and Mattingly didn’t offer much following the win other than to reference a 70s team that was no stranger to in-fighting, via the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett:
Just talking in the dugout. Same old things,” Mattingly said. “We’re like the ’72 A’s. Just family stuff,” he said. “Family business.”
When Kemp was asked about the exchange, he shifted the attention on the Dodgers’ win:
Good game we played today, huh? Go Dodgers,” Kemp said with a smile, deflecting questions about the confrontation.
One of the more plausible explanations as to what may have triggered Kemp to follow Puig in the dugout was the young center fielder not going first to third on an Adrian Gonzalez single into right field.
Two runs scored on Gonzalez’s base hit and had Puig gone to third, the Dodgers would have runners on the corners with no outs and Kemp batting. Instead, with Puig on second and Gonzalez at first, Kemp struck out in his at-bat.
Puig eventually scored on Hanley Ramirez’s RBI double and the baserunning mistake didn’t cost the Dodgers. Given the length of the season and amount of time players spend together, altercations of varying degrees are not uncommon.
The Rockies’ broadcast so happened to catch Kemp’s apparent frustration with Puig, which naturally led to high interest in the exchange.