Red Sox, Tribe benches clear in eighth
Two players hit by pitches, near misses on two others
BOSTON -- Whenever a pitch hits a batter or even comes inside, there's an unspoken code of intention between the two teams. Usually, it's very clear and trouble is averted, especially when it's clearly unintentional.
But to Red Sox fireballer Josh Beckett, there was a communication breakdown on the part of the Indians on Tuesday night and it resulted in a benches-clearing shoving and shouting match between the two clubs.
Both benches cleared in the eighth inning of Boston's 3-1 win at Fenway Park after Cleveland's Jensen Lewis threw behind the back of Adrian Beltre to open the bottom of the frame.
There was pushing and shoving between the mound and home plate as Beckett shouted at several Indians, including Shelley Duncan. After tempers cooled momentarily, Cleveland third-base coach Steve Smith approached Boston pitching coach John Farrell and got into a discussion. Farrell appeared angered, then Sox manager Terry Francona intervened and started shouting at Smith.
"I wasn't yelling at Farrell. I said, 'What up?' and Francona saw it and we both said something," said Smith, who wound up being ejected for his role. "They had to pick someone -- better me than a manager or player."
The altercation resulted in the ejections of Lewis, Smith and Beckett by home-plate umpire Tim Welke.
"Any time a guy is hit, everyone wonders if it was on purpose, but you don't know," Smith said. "I didn't see it coming though."
"[Beckett] was yelling at some people on our team and saying that the whole thing was our fault," Duncan said. "He was just saying some things."
After Shin-Soo Choo singled with two outs in the first, Beckett nailed Duncan with a fastball to put runners on first and second. The tensions began to escalate two innings later, when Beckett drilled Choo on the right knee with a fastball. In neither case, said Beckett and catcher Victor Martinez, was there any intent involved.
"We really didn't try to hit anybody," said Martinez. "If you don't pitch [inside] in this game, you're not going to pitch for long. That was just a two-seamer that just ran in to Duncan and we didn't really try to hit him. And Choo, not either. The game is close and you don't want to put anybody on."
Beckett thought the Indians completely misread the situation.
"I thought [the Indians] had a good feel for the game," he said wryly afterward. "I think my feel is pretty good."
Cleveland reliever Justin Germano threw behind David Ortiz in the bottom of seventh. When Lewis threw behind Beltre, the Red Sox's third baseman approached the mound and started yelling.
"The reaction was what it was," Lewis said. "We were trying to go inside and it just got away."
Francona thought enough was enough after throwing behind Ortiz and Beltre in consecutive innings, Boston's two leading run-producers in a lineup ravaged by injuries.
"I just thought they were maybe taking some liberties," Francona said. "Everyone has their own opinions. Sometimes it gets hot."
"That is part of the game and the players usually take care of their own thing, probably some of our guys felt like our best player was hit on purpose and they were probably trying to protect the guy," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "There is no room in the game for that kind of stuff, but they usually work it out themselves, just a lot of pushing and shoving, with some tough guys trying to find other guys."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.