Benches clear after Morales drills Scott
No punches thrown during heated ninth-inning exchange
BOSTON -- Frustration boiled over between the Red Sox and Rays on Friday night when Luke Scott was hit on the leg by a pitch from Boston lefty Franklin Morales in the ninth inning of Tampa Bay's 7-4 victory.
After being hit, Scott started to walk toward the mound. He was intercepted by Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Scott tried to push Saltalamacchia away, but he didn't get very far.
"I'll respond this way," said Scott. "I respect every team and every player I play against. From what I know about Morales, I know he's a pretty good guy. It's obvious where it came from. At the end of the day, you reap what you sow. Tomorrow's another day."
In the sixth inning, Boston's Dustin Pedroia was hit in the back on a pitch by Rays right-hander Burke Badenhop.
"You know what? I tried to go with my fastball in and I missed and I don't know, I wasn't trying to do it on purpose," Morales said. "I tried to go in with him and I missed the pitch."
All of this could have been related to some events last week at Tropicana Field.
Adrian Gonzalez had predicted following a May 16 game that he would hit a home run the next night. Matt Moore hit Gonzalez in his first at-bat when Boston and Tampa Bay opened a two-game series at Tropicana Field the next night.
Later that night, Felix Doubront hit Scott.
"I don't think so," Gonzalez said when asked if Friday's events could be related to last week. "We didn't talk about anything like that. There wasn't any hard feelings from anything from the last series. It definitely wasn't from that."
It was interesting that Scott was in the eye of the storm. He said some provocative things about the Red Sox and their fans in an interview with MLB.com back in Spring Training. Scott played for the Orioles last season and expressed elation at his team playing such a prominent role in Boston's epic collapse.
"Just their arrogance," Scott said to MLB.com's Bill Chastain in February. "The fans come in and they take over the city. They're ruthless. They're vulgar. They cause trouble. They talk about your family. Swear at you. Who likes that? When people do that, it just gives you more incentive to beat them.
"I got to see a priceless thing driving back to my apartment. I see all the Boston fans walking around, and I mean they were crying crocodile tears."
Scott tried to clarify those comments after Friday's game.
"I never said anything bad about Fenway and the fact that I respect the park," said Scott. "I respect the park and there's a lot of great tradition here. I can appreciate that as a player and as a fan I can imagine it's a great place for someone to go watch a baseball game and the nostalgia of it.
"I made a comment that as a player it's a difficult place to get your work done. That's it. I thought it was an educated response. By no means was I being disrespectful. I actually praised the park for all the memories and nostalgia, those are all plusses. Just the one thing as a baseball player coming here to do a job, it's difficult."
During the at-bat that Scott was hit on Friday, Morales threw his first pitch behind Scott. He threw another inside pitch before finally hitting Scott with a 97-mph fastball. Morales was the pitcher who hit Tampa Bay's Will Rhymes on May 16. Rhymes, with considerable swelling on his arm, fainted afterward.
"Frankie's a guy that you have to pitch in," said Saltalamacchia. "It was unfortunate that the last time at their place he went in and hit a guy. I mean, it goes through your head a little bit. The first one got away from him, but after that we've got to pitch in. We didn't pitch in at all tonight, and you saw what happened. It's an at-bat [in which] we need to shut them down right there. We got two quick outs and we needed that third one. It's just unfortunate it got away."
Once Scott and Saltalamacchia started to separate, both benches emptied. There was some yelling and pushing, but no punches were thrown.
"I've just got to protect my pitcher, be a good teammate," Saltalamacchia said. "That was basically what it comes down to. When you start walking towards the mound, that means you want to say something, you want to do something, and I protected him, made sure he didn't do anything."
Interestingly, coaches on both sides seemed more emotional than the players. Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure and bench coach Tim Bogar had heated exchanges with the Rays' Carlos Pena.
"I didn't understand the situation whatsoever. It was not called for at all," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm kind of curious regarding who put out the hit, because I know it wasn't one of their players. By the way their players reacted to the entire situation, I knew it did not come from them. It's kind of incompetent behavior. It's the kind of behavior that gets people hurt and gets [players] hurt on your own side by choosing to do something so ridiculous." Some Rays, including first-base coach George Hendrick, had some anger directed at Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
"A guy got hit in the leg. Boys will be boys," Valentine said. "Maybe it was the ghost of Fenway Past remembering [Scott] bad-mouthed all our fans and our stadium, directing the ball at his leg."
When the whole thing seemed to subside, Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton shouted at some fans seated in the third-base stands.
"To be honest with you, he said something about [David] Price, definitely unsuitable for TV, but I didn't like it," Upton said. "But you know what? Sometimes fans cross the line and I felt like he did and kind of lost my cool. It's tough for me to get there, but he sent me there tonight."
There were no ejections.
How much bad blood is there between the American League East rivals?
"I wouldn't say there's bad blood," Saltalamacchia said. "It's a rivalry. ... We want to win, so whoever we put in front of us that we play, it's going to be a game that we're heated and ready to go and want to win."