Nationals star Juan Soto addressed Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas' mimicking gesture after Washington's 2-0 victory over St. Louis in Game 1 of the National League Championship series on Friday.
"I don't care. He can do whatever he wants. We're going to keep going," Soto said (via ESPN).
It started when Soto took a curveball in the dirt on a pitch from Mikolas. He then appeared to grab his crotch while staring at Mikolas. The pitcher decided to return the favor, mimicking the gesture.
Mikolas downplayed his antics, saying he "was just having fun out there." After the game, Mikolas explained what the exchange was all about.
"He has a routine where he shuffles around the box and adjusts his cup or whatnot, and I was just having fun out there, just kind of giving it back to him in a good-natured, ribbing kind of way," Mikolas told reporters. "There was no intent to be mean or start anything out there."
Was Miles Mikolas taunting Juan Soto here? You be the judge. pic.twitter.com/wRHACUdhpq
— Thomas Lott (@tlott33) October 12, 2019
Mikolas also admitted he was mocking Soto.
"I wanted to wait for him to see me do it," he said. "Kind of poking the bear a little bit. Again, just having fun with it. It's one of those things he does. Hitters do all their stuff, so it's fun as a pitcher to give it back to a hitter every once in a while."
Nationals manager Dave Martinez addressed what Soto does before taking a pitch, calling it a routine.
"I said this before — at first when I saw him doing it, I thought, you know, it's a little, you know," Martinez said. "But then after talking to him and watching him, it's a routine that he uses to get to the next pitch. I mean, when you talk to him, he really feels like that's his batter's box, he owns that batter's box.
MORE: Miles Mikolas, Juan Soto appear to taunt each other with crotch grabs in NLCS Game 1 | Phillies CEO John Middleton overruled front office to fire manager Gabe Kapler | Three takeaways from Nationals' nearly historic NLCS Game 1 win over Cardinals
"And when he does that, it's basically just saying, 'Hey, I'm going to get back in here and I'm going to get ready to hit the next pitch.' If he misses one or whatever or if he takes one, it's just his way of saying, 'Hey, this is my batter's box, it's part of the game, we got a game, it's me against you, and I'm going to try to beat you.'"
Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday at 4:08 p.m. ET.