After a night of baseball that more closely resembled a WWF wrestling match, gave way to normalcy Saturday when the Boston Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 9-4.
"I think it's an isolated incident," Indians manger Mike Hargrove said before the game, referring to two bench-clearing fights in Cleveland's 7-6 victory on Friday night. "I didn't see any bad blood."
"That stuff that happened last night is a part of the game."
After giving up a leadoff homer to Troy O'Leary in the fifth inning and putting the next two Red Sox hitters on base, Indians starter Jaret Wright set off the first brawl by hitting Darren Lewis in the right shoulder to load the bases.
"I threw a curveball to Darren and I guess he thought it was a fastball," Wright said. "He said something, I said something, and you saw what happened."
Lewis and Wright exchanged words, and Lewis charged the mound. Both benches and bullpens cleared, and Lewis and Wright were ejected after punches were thrown.
"I can't blame Darren Lewis at all," said Indians third baseman Travis Fryman. "Once you've been hit in the head, you remember it. Your first reaction is anger,"
Wright previously hit Lewis in the head in Game 1 of last year's division series. Both players also were ejected then.
"I don't think Jaret Wright is a headhunter," Hargrove said. "I don't think he hit Darren Lewis on purpose this time or last year in the playoffs. Jaret is a good kid and a very competitive pitcher."
Williams implied that American League pitchers are more apt to throw at hitters because they don't have to hit.
"I think a lot of it has to do with the designated hitter."
In the top of the sixth, reliever Rheal Cormier hit Jim Thome in retaliation with a pitch in the ribs, setting off the second brawl of the game.
"Pitching inside is part of the evolution of the game," said Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan. b>"In the 50's and 60's, hitters weren't as strong as they are now."
"Now hitters are bigger and stronger and have to decide which side of the plate they want. They can't have both sides."
During the second melee, Hargrove and Williams had words, and Williams was restrained by Pedro Martinez.
"I can't tell you anything that was said because I couldn't hear him," Hargrove said. "The question I asked him was, 'Why all this over a breaking ball?' I wondered why all the brouhaha over a breaking ball. When I got back to the bench, (coach) Jeff Newman reminded me Jaret hit Lewis last year."
Hargrove, who spent 12 years in the major leagues, said he had been hit in the head.
"It's not a fun thing to have happen," he said. "I don't think there is any room in this game for headhunting."
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