SAN FRANCISCO — Giants ace Madison Bumgarner answered questions for several minutes Sunday after their 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, walked away from the media scrum, and looked around in disbelief.
“I can’t believe no one asked me any questions about the homer,’’ Bumgarner said. “I had an answer for you.’’
Well, inquiring minds suddenly wanted to know, so he finally was asked about that sixth-inning home run off an inside fastball that he surrendered to Reds slugger Yasiel Puig.
“He’s a quick study,’’ Bumgarner said. “It only took him seven years to learn how to hit that pitch.’’
Yes, the two don’t like one another.
Hate each other actually.
When Bumgarner submitted his no-trade list of eight teams during the winter, he did not include the Reds, figuring they wouldn’t be among the contenders wanting him, anyways.
But with Puig also a free agent after the season, let’s just say Bumgarner will make sure to sign his next contract with a different team, if not different leagues.
Bumgarner has no use for Puig, and vice-versa, with Puig taking a long time admiring his home run, flipping it majestically into the air.
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It was Puig’s third home run in 54 career plate appearances against Bumgarner, but his first since May 9, 2014. Puig, who has a career .224 batting average against Bumgarner, had been hitless against him in his last 12 plate appearances.
Bumgarner never looked at him as Puig rounded the bases, but there was no yelling, or a bench-clearing brawl, like the one in September 2014, when Bumgarner hit Puig with a pitch, and he charged the mound. In September, 2016, Bumgarner and Puig yelled at one another after a groundout, and Bumgarner started to approach him, before the benches cleared again.
This time, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Puig’s former team, had fun with the incident, printing T-shirts that read, “Don’t look at me.”
The Giants and Reds don’t face one another the rest of the season, but then again, with the trade deadline two months away, and both players eligible for free agency, who knows if they could meet again at least one more time this season.
Who knows, even teammates?
For now, they remain enemies, with Puig torturing the Giants for 11 hits in 25 at-bats this season with three homers, seven RBI and eight runs, and vigorously booed every time he stepped to the plate during their three-game series last weekend.
“I love to play all the teams in MLB, but when I come here to San Francisco, people booing me, I think it’s God-given blessing opportunity to do the best I can more than any other stadiums,” Puig told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He [teammate Jose Peraza] says, ‘I don’t want all the people booing you and you’re not going to do nothing.’ That’s the reason I’ve had a little success when I play the Giants here in San Francisco.”
And the reason Bumgarner and Puig can’t stand one another …until they meet again.
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