Jesus Guzman appears to be getting under the skin of the Giants. The Padres' part-timer homered in back-to-back games, sandwiched by a retaliatory salvo from Madison Bumgarner that cleared both benches.
The story began on Tuesday night, when Guzman came off the bench in the eighth inning to pinch-hit for Will Venable. He hit a two-run homer off Jeremy Affeldt, a 418-foot shot that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. His celebration, which included carrying his bat halfway down the first base line as he admired the shot and then gesturing into the Padres dugout while sidestepping (viewable at the 1:28 mark in the video below) apparently rubbed the Giants the wrong way. They scored two runs themselves in the bottom of the eighth to win, 5-4, but the incident was not forgotten.
When Guzman came to the plate in the second inning of Wednesday afternoon's game, Bumgarner threw a pitch behind his back. Guzman pointed his bat at the pitcher, and took a few steps towards the mound before being stopped by catcher Buster Posey and home plate umpire Tony Randazzo. Both benches emptied, though what transpired during the five-minute delay didn't appear to amount to much more than heated words and a few shoves:
In the seventh inning, with the game tied at 1-1, Guzman regained the upper hand with a solo homer off Bumgarner, followed by a very leisurely trot around the bases:
However, the defending world champions refused to be subdued by a part-time player hitting .237/.304/.368 with all of three homers — including these two — in 126 plate appearances this year. They answered Guzman's blast with a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh and prevailed 4-2, giving them a 2-1 edge in the series. With the win, the Giants (37-34) remained 1 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West, while the Padres (36-36) dropped to three games back. The two teams meet again for a four-game series in San Diego from July 11-14; we'll see if the Giants seek further retaliation.