Work in Sports
Eight Devil Rays ejected in brawl-filled game
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- By the end, two Boston Red Sox had been taken to a hospital and eight members of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, including five players, were still fuming about being ejected during their brawl-filled game Tuesday night.
Brian Daubach, who was hit by pitches twice after playing a role in a first-inning fight, was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital for precautionary X-rays on his left arm.
Lou Merloni, who wound up on the bottom of the pile in the scuffle, left the game with a mild concussion and was hospitalized overnight for observation.
The Red Sox were shaken up during the first of five confrontations that led to the ejections of Tampa Bay's manager, two coaches, three pitchers and outfielders Gerald Williams and Greg Vaughn.
No Boston players were tossed, which made the night even more frustrating for the Devil Rays, who felt Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez was responsible for it all. Martinez, knocked down by Williams in the melee, stayed in the game and wound up tossing a one-hitter, winning 8-0.
"I think Gerald did the right thing," Tampa Bay's Ozzie Guillen said. "Pedro gets up and pitches a hell of a game, and we did what we're supposed to do. Hopefully it's over. Hopefully, we don't carry this over to tomorrow."
Manager Larry Rothschild and Williams were ejected after Martinez hit Williams with his fourth pitch of the game. The outfielder charged the mound, setting off a bench-clearing brawl.
Rothschild was ejected by second base umpire Tim McClelland for arguing that Martinez should have been thrown out. The game was delayed 12 minutes.
"I was really surprised because I had no intention whatsoever to hit him," Martinez said. "The program is just to pitch inside him ... It doesn't matter. That's part of the game."
Dave Eiland, Tampa Bay's starting pitcher, and coach Bill Russell, who became acting manager following Rothschild's ejection, were tossed in the third after Eiland hit Daubach and Nomar Garciaparra with pitches.
Daubach hit the dirt avoiding a high and inside pitch, then was hit on the next pitch. After Carl Everett hit a two-run double, Garciaparra was hit in the back and Eiland was ejected.
"Some guys can do whatever they want to do and it's all right," Vaughn said. "They can hit you in the head, hit you in the arm, put you out for the whole season or whatever. It's not right. Something happens, you got to do what you've got to do."
Cory Lidle was ejected in the seventh after throwing a pitch behind Daubach and coach Jose Cardenal was tossed because he was acting manager. Tony Fiore relieved, throw an inside pitch to Daubach, then hit him with his second pitch.
Both benches emptied, but there were no punches thrown. Williams came out of Tampa Bay's clubhouse and ran back on the field, in front of the Devil Rays' dugout, before dashing back inside.
"We thought that Daubach was throwing cheap shots in the pile and you have to protect your players," Rothschild said. "You're not going to let that happen, and the only problem was that our pitchers kept missing that guy."
Vaughn was ejected by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi in the bottom of the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes after Martinez, who was working on a no-hit bid, threw a called third strike by him.
In the first brawl, Williams took a several steps toward first base, alternating his stare between his hand and Martinez. He then charged the mound and throwing a right at Martinez. Williams was then tackled from behind by catcher Jason Varitek.
Williams was restrained by several different people, including Vaughn and Red Sox coach Jim Rice.
There was considerable pushing and shoving after both benches and bullpens emptied. Daubach, who emerged from the pile holding his left arm, as pushed from behind by Devil Rays closer Roberto Hernandez.
McClelland said Martinez, who went on to pitch a one-hitter and win 8-0, wasn't ejected because the umpires didn't think he hit Williams deliberately.
"Then, Williams charged the mound, and that is an almost automatic ejection," McClelland said. "Then the melee, scuffle, whatever you want to call it, started. In our opinion, none of the actions during the time warranted ejection."