Miami Marlins

Payback pitches, ejections, culminate in Marlins' loss to Giants

Miami Marlins' Lewis Brinson is hit by a pitch thrown by San Francisco Giants' Dereck Rodriguez during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 19, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Miami Marlins' Lewis Brinson is hit by a pitch thrown by San Francisco Giants' Dereck Rodriguez during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 19, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) AP

For a couple of teams that don't play all that often, the Marlins and Giants sure have managed to turn baseball into a contact sport over the years.

There was the dramatic play at the plate to end the 2003 National League Division series when the Giants' J.T. Snow plowed into Marlins catcher Pudge Rodriguez. There was the violent 2011 home plate collision involving Scott Cousins and Buster Posey, which left the Giants' star with a broken leg and prompted a rule change designed to protect catchers.

And it was only last week that a Dan Straily pitch broke the hand of Giants third baseman Evan Longoria.

Now comes the Lewis Brinson-Hunter Strickland affair.

One night after Strickland took exception to Brinson's bat flip in the Marlins' comeback win and the hot-tempered Giants closer took out his frustration by punching a door and breaking his hand in the process, the episode carried into Tuesday when two batters were hit by pitches, warnings were issued, and both Straily and manager Don Mattingly were ejected in the Marlins' 6-3 loss to the Giants.

When it comes to the Marlins and Giants, there's never a dull moment.

The latest episode revolved around Brinson and Strickland. Or at least, by all appearances, it looked that way.

A week after Brinson's sacrifice fly off Strickland in the ninth drove in the tying run and sent the game to extra innings, Strickland delivered a high-and-tight pitch to Brinson in Monday's ninth inning. Brinson followed that brush-back with a game-tying single, flipping his bat in the process. Strickland proceeded to give up the go-ahead run, and then exchanged words with Brinson as he was walking off the field after being taken out of the game.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Strickland had a punched a door in frustration, broke the pinky finger on his pitching hand, and would miss the next six to eight weeks.

But the episode didn't end there.

When Brinson came up for the first time in Tuesday's second hitting, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez -- son of Pudge, ironically -- plunked the Marlins rookie with his first pitch. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher immediately issued warnings to both benches. When Posey came up in the Giants' half of the second, Straily's first pitch to him struck him in the arm.

Here's where it gets murky.

The Marlins claimed innocence, with Mattingly saying he felt nobody was trying to hit anyone and Straily saying his pitch to Posey just got away from him.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on the other hand, seemed to see it all a little differently.

"My response would be, were they throwing at Longoria (last week)?" Bochy said. "I guess they felt they had to do something, but there's some fuzzy math going on when I've got my guy (Longoria) on the DL for eight weeks and (Kelby Tomlinson) got hit in the back last night."

Posey said he also felt that Straily hit him on purpose.

"It sure seemed that way," Posey said.

On the other hand, both Posey and Rodriguez said they were simply trying to pitch Brinson inside, not trying to hit him.

Then there were the Giants TV broadcasters, who claimed that after Brinson was hit by Rodriguez, Mattingly came out of the dugout and, as he was arguing with umpires over the warnings, looked over at Posey, and said 'You're next.'"

Mattingly denied saying anything to that effect.

"Nope, didn't happen," Mattingly said. "Nothing toward Posey. I know I heard it when I came in those guys were saying I said something about ‘Your next.’ I would not say that."

Posey said he didn't recall hearing Mattingly threaten him, either.

"He didn't," Posey said. "Even if he did, you know I won't talk about it."

After Posey was hit, Fletcher wasted no time in ejecting Straily and Mattingly, and there were no further incidents over the remaining seven innings.

The night did not go well for Miami. While emotions cooled, they were unable to dig themselves out of an early 4-0 hole that Straily put them in when the gave up home runs to Posey and Gorkys Hernandez.

The Marlins, who had succeeded in defeating the Giants with three comeback wins last week in Miami and another on Monday at AT & T Park, got within a run when they scored three times in the fourth. But the Giants added two more runs in the fifth to extend the lead and never looked back.

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