Before the season, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt took a cheap shot at the Dodgers. Asked a question about the Dodgers’ late-season acquisitions in 2012 and off-season acquisitions such as Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Skip Schumaker, Belt said that the Dodgers “can’t buy chemistry.”
Belt is right in one sense. Chemistry on a baseball team doesn’t come at a price. Chemistry on a baseball team comes from playing together, winning and losing together, and coming together when you need each other the most.
The Dodgers found a way to come together tonight. Zack Greinke was sharp through 5 innings, allowing only one run to that point on a 4th inning wild pitch. Jason Marquis gave up a two run first inning home run to Adrian Gonzalez with Carl Crawford aboard, but then settled in and was pitching well himself.
The plot line to this game really starts in the 6th inning, however. Facing Carlos Quentin with a 3-2 count, Greinke threw a fastball that appeared to get away from him a little, cutting up and in and hitting Quentin on the shoulder. Earlier in the game, Marquis had thrown a brushback pitch that came up and in on Matt Kemp. Quentin assumed retaliation, walked toward the mound, shouted, threw down his bat, then charged at Zack Greinke. Greinke for his part threw his glove aside and lowered his left shoulder into the charging Quentin and the benches cleared. Quentin and Greinke got lost in the pile, and Matt Kemp came steaming in from center field and jumped into the middle of the pack. Quentin was dragged away by some of his Padres teammates and effectively pushed into the dugout. Kemp, meanwhile, continued calling out the Padres. Kemp got between Andre Ethier and an umpire at one point, told Bud Black “don’t touch me” at one point, during another part of the exchange was apparently saying words that Vin Scully thought might be a little too adult-themed for the kids watching the game at home and prompted Scully to say Kemp was saying “that’s a bunch of fertilizer” over and over again. At one point, Kemp appeared to be telling the entire San Diego Padres team off. Jerry Hairston, Jr. also got in, charging across the field and challenging the Padre dugout on his own at one point and causing the benches to clear out again.
After the commotion had settled down, the umpires ejected Carlos Quentin on the Padres side. Matt Kemp was ejected for his tirade. Jerry Hairston, Jr. was also ejected for having run out and challenged the Padre dugout.
The biggest blow to the Dodgers, though, was that Zack Greinke was injured at some point during the scrum. Greinke was led off the field by trainer Sue Falsone. Preliminary word is that Zack Greinke has broken his collarbone. While the team travels to Arizona for a three game weekend series with the Diamondbacks, Greinke will travel to Los Angeles for further evaluation and a determination on a course of treatment.
The Padres managed to push around another run in the 6th, but Chris Capuano was helped out by a great catch by Skip Schumaker, replacing Matt Kemp in Center field, with one on and two out. The Padres base runners had broken on the hit, either anticipating it would drop in or forgetting that there was only one out, and Schumaker doubled off one of the runners, ending the inning and keeping the score tied at 2-2.
The score would remain tied at 2 until the 8th inning when the most unlikely of game heroes would come through for the Dodgers. Juan Uribe, serving as a pinch hitter with one out, worked a full count on Padres reliever Luke Gregerson, then drove a breaking ball over the left-center field wall for his second home run of the season and putting the Dodgers ahead by a score of 3-2.
Kenley Jansen would work a perfect 9th inning to close out the game and pick up the save in place of Brandon League, who required 34 pitches in Wednesday night’s game and was given the night off.
We’ll await word from the league about possible suspensions to Quentin and Kemp. Word has circulated over social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, stating that Kemp and Quentin were involved in another confrontation in the tunnel between the clubhouses after the game, words were exchanged, and the two players needed to be separated by teammates. It is not certain whether or not Kemp will be suspended for his role in the on-field confrontation or the post-game confrontation. It is widely speculated that Carlos Quentin will be facing some sort of suspension for charging Greinke and possibly injuring his shoulder.
Greinke is officially charged with 2 runs on 5 hits to go with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts on the night, but did not factor into the decision. The Dodgers wound up using 5 different relievers after Greinke left the game to keep the Padre offense at bay. Matt Guerrier picks up the win and is 1-0. Padres starter Jason Marquis, who also went 5 innings, gave up 2 runs on 7 hits while also walking 4 and striking out 5, but did not factor into the decision. Luke Gregerson, who gave up Juan Uribe’s home run, took the loss. Kenley Jansen records his first save of the season.
Tonight’s game is in the books, but the aftermath will most likely be known in more depth over the next few days. One thing is for sure, though. The Dodgers came out of the brawl fired up, and picked up a big win tonight. They now move on to Arizona, where they will face off against the Diamondbacks on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon. The Padres will host the Colorado Rockies for a weekend series at Petco Park. The two teams will face off again starting next Monday, April 15th, at Dodger Stadium.