SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Cueto added a little spice to the ever-salty Giants-Dodgers rivalry.
Following one of his least effective starts of the season, Cueto accused the Dodgers of tipping pitch locations through runners at second base during Los Angeles' 6-1 victory Wednesday afternoon. Naturally, none of the Dodgers admitted to such gamesmanship. But the difference of opinion led to a benches-emptying incident in which no punches were thrown.
Trouble began in Los Angeles' half of the first inning, with Corey Seager on third base and Justin Turner on second. Grandal golfed an 0-2 breaking ball at his shoetops down the right-field line for a two-run double. At that point, Cueto pointed at Grandal and had some words.
Initially during his postgame address, Cueto said nothing about the Dodgers' stealing signs. Referring to the 0-2 pitch that Grandal crushed, Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros, "It was a good pitch, and Grandal bit me on that one. I didn't think he was going to be able to hit that ball."
Later during the interview, however, Cueto said, "I'm not going to use that as an excuse, but they were relaying signs" -- implying that only with assistance could Grandal have hit such an impossible pitch.
Facing Grandal in the third inning, Cueto threw up and in. The delivery eluded catcher Buster Posey for a wild pitch that scored Chase Utley from third base. Cueto retired Grandal on a fly ball to end the inning, and the two then exchanged words, which brought everybody out of both dugouts.
When peace was restored, the umpires huddled, but there were no ejections.
"I just threw the pitch, and the ball slipped out of my hand," said Cueto, who allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings. "I told him that it was not my intention to throw at his head, that if I was going to hit him, I was going to hit him below."
Said Grandal, "We hashed it, talked about it and apologized for it. Let's not make it a bigger deal than it really is."
Grandal related that Cueto mentioned his sign-stealing accusation to him.
"That's why it caught me by surprise," Grandal said. "I'm trying to get a walking lead because I'm slow. He thought I was giving out signs. If he refers to the pitch I hit [for] a double, he made a pretty good pitch, and I put a pretty good swing on it. The second pitch of the at-bat was the same. I took a pretty good swing on it. Making contact has nothing to do with knowing it was coming. I probably wouldn't have swung at it if I had known where it was. We talked about it. The big thing was that we won, concentrate on that."
As for Cueto's high-and-tight fastball, Grandal said, "He just said that wasn't his intention, so, great. I'm glad that wasn't his intention. At that point in time, it looked a little different."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.