Tempers flared after the sixth inning of the Giants’ eighth straight loss against the Dodgers, resulting in Gabe Kapler’s first ejection as San Francisco’s manager.
The inciting action came from Jarlin García, who had struck out James Outman to end the frame. After the punchout, he stared at Mookie Betts — the on-deck batter — and knocked the side of his head with his fist. That gesture is one Betts and the Dodgers use to celebrate home runs.
Betts took exception to the taunt and walked toward García and the Giants’ dugout. Kapler screamed at first base umpire Phil Cuzzi, who had come to San Francisco’s dugout and scolded him about how to approach the situation.
Kapler and García were each ejected. Umpires issued warnings to both dugouts and to every pitcher for the remainder of the game, crew chief Dan Bellino said.
“We didn’t really need any prompting there,” Kapler said postgame. “I had already gotten Jarlin off the field, he was in the dugout. At that point, things were completely under control. I took exception to that. No reason for us to have that conversation right there in front of our dugout.”
Bellino said Kapler got tossed for directing “derogatory comments” toward Cuzzi. It was his fifth career ejection as manager, with all previous four coming in 2019 with the Phillies. Kapler doesn’t believe in getting ejected to rile up his team.
“Didn’t handle it perfectly,” Kapler said.
After the game, Kapler and García discussed the situation. The manager said expressing emotions is appropriate, but he crossed a line. It was a normal conversation, García said, and Kapler just wanted to understand his frame of mind.
García said that he meant no disrespect by the gesture and just got caught up in the moment of competition. Betts is one of his favorite players, in fact; Betts said he’s never spoken to the reliever.
“Yeah for sure I mean you (García) started it, I’m not going to back down at that point, I’m not going to run away from it,” Betts told reporters postgame. “I’m not going to encourage it but I’m not running away either.”
Betts had homered off García on July 21 in Dodger Stadium. When he rounded the bases then, he did the head-banging gesture, which is derived from a famous scene in “The Wolf Of Wall Street.”
“It’s competing,” García said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. “That’s what the game is. Got caught up in the moment. Basically, what I tried to do is show that I’m also competing. But I got caught up in the moment.”
When asked about Kapler’s ejection, García said he appreciates his manager having his back and that he’d do the same.
The heated moment came in San Francisco’s 5-3 loss to the Dodgers. The Giants have lost 12 of 15 out of the All-Star break and eight straight against their rivals — something that hasn’t happened since 1979. San Francisco is now 51-55, matching their loss total from 2021.
“Who wouldn’t be frustrated?” Kapler said. “We’re all frustrated. We don’t want to play like this.”