The San Diego Padres are continuing to get under the skin of their opponents as they win ballgames.
This time, it's their Southern California rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are expressing some displeasure with the young Friars' in-game antics. In the sixth inning of a 7-2 win at Petco Park, Padres center fielder Trent Grisham took Clayton Kershaw very deep to right field. After admiring his shot, Grisham had a few words for the legendary left-hander while rounding the bases.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was less than amused by Grisham's actions after the game, believing that his three-time Cy Young Award-winning ace deserves more respect from opposing hitters.
"I don't mind guys admiring a homer," Roberts said, according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Certainly it's a big game, a big hit. Really like the player. But I just felt to over kind of stay at home plate and certainly against a guy like Clayton who has the respect of everyone in the big leagues and what he's done in this game. I just took exception to that because I think that there's a certain respect that you give a guy if you homer against him."
Grisham's homer came at a pivotal moment, as it tied the contest at 1-1. Up to that point, Kershaw had been cruising; he ended up allowing two more runs and took the loss, his first against the Padres since 2013.
"They wanted me to run and that was really about it," Grisham said of the chatter he heard from the Dodgers' dugout, according to The Associated Press. "They told me to get going a little sooner. That was it."
While Grisham's celebration irked Roberts, Padres manage Jayce Tingler credited the moment with spurring his team to victory.
"It was a big moment in the game, and it was a huge hit. It got us fired up, and we have fun," Tingler said, according to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. "We play the game right, we respect the game, but we're going to have fun, and we're going to pull for one another. To us, that's all it is."
Kershaw, for his part, had no interest in starting a beef with Grisham. He told Sanders: "I'm not going to worry about their team. Let him do what he wants."
The Padres have spent this season thumbing their nose at baseball's so-called unwritten rules while rocketing toward their first playoff berth in 14 years. Last month, star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. rankled the Texas Rangers by hitting a grand slam on a 3-0 count late in a blowout win. Texas then threw intentionally at Manny Machado in retaliation.
Monday's win moved San Diego to within 1 1/2 games of the NL West-leading Dodgers, who also own MLB's best record. This is the final series between the teams in the regular season.