LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yuli Gurriel batted to a soundtrack of loud and steady boos in Game 7 of the World Series.
Dodgers fans voiced their displeasure when the first baseman was announced sixth in the Astros’ lineup before the deciding game Wednesday night.
They grew even louder when Gurriel came to the plate for the first time.
Gurriel tipped his helmet in Yu Darvish’s direction before stepping into the batter’s box to face the Japan-born pitcher. Gurriel flied out to right in a 13-pitch at-bat to end the first inning, with Houston leading 2-0.
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A night earlier, Rich Hill purposely stepped off the rubber while the fans were booing Gurriel, allowing the negative crescendo to last longer.
Hill described it as his “silent gesture” to condemn Gurriel’s racist gesture toward Darvish after homering off the hurler last Friday.
“This is a very close group, and for him to acknowledge that moment on behalf of Yu, I’m sure that Yu appreciated that,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said before Game 7.
“The fans obviously got to voice their displeasure.”
Darvish was pitching Wednesday in front of his home fans in his first start since Gurriel pulled on the corners of his eyes and used a derogatory Spanish term in reference to Darvish.
After getting an earful from the crowd, Gurriel went 1 for 4 in the Astros’ 3-1 loss in Game 6 on Tuesday.
“That was as loud and as long a boo as I’ve heard in my time in sports,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday. “I don’t think the Dodger fans will let him get past it until, maybe never. I think people have long memories in situations like this.”
Major League Baseball suspended Gurriel for the first five games next season for his actions.
“He’s still sorry,” Hinch said about the Cuba-born player. “He’s still regretful. He’s still remorseful. He’s still got a penalty to pay.”
Darvish said Tuesday that he didn’t think it was necessary to meet with Gurriel, who contacted the Dodgers and offered to meet with the pitcher in person and apologize.
Darvish said a meeting didn’t really matter to him because “I’m not that mad.”
Gurriel will lose $322,581 of his $12 million salary next year, which the Astros will donate to charitable causes. He also will be required to undergo sensitivity training during the offseason.
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