Tempers, fists fly as Sox brawl with Orioles

191542.jpg

Tempers, fists fly as Sox brawl with Orioles

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- What started as a blowout turned into a brawl on Friday night at Fenway Park.

After jumping out 8-0 in the first inning, the Red Sox had a commanding 10-3 lead over the Orioles in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and David Ortiz at the plate, the game had fended off rain showers and looked to be nearing its end.

That is, until Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg threw inside to Ortiz.

And then he did it again.

Ortiz took exception to the pitches and began to walk toward the mound, but retreated to the plate where he popped out to centerfield. Gregg shouted to Ortiz as he ran toward first base and was promptly ejected by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook. Once again, Ortiz headed toward the mound -- and this time, no one retreated.

3-0 count, theyre up seven, I think theres some ethics to this game that youve got to . . . guidelines that youve got to stay within. Run, Gregg said following the Red Sox 10-3 victory. You hit a fly ball, a lazy fly ball, youve got to run the bases. Apparently he didnt like me telling him that stuff and he came out there. Thats part of the game. He has the right to come out there. Im going to defend myself if he comes out.

As Gregg and Ortiz threw punches (none connected), benches and bullpens cleared. The two scuffling players were quickly enveloped in a mass of Red Sox and Orioles furiously trying to defend their teammates.

I think bloods flowing, were obviously scoring some runs. Its hard to explain unless youre out there, said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was ejected for his role in the scrum. Weve got to protect each other, protect our teammates. I dont think theres any reason for it. I didnt see anything that was reason to throw it at him.

Once tempers cooled and the players were separated, Ortiz, Saltalamacchia and Orioles pitcher Jim Johnson were also ejected. Saltalamacchia, who came out of the Red Sox bullpen, said he has no clue still as to why he was thrown out. While Ortiz did not address the media after the game, his teammates spoke out in his defense.

Starting pitcher Josh Beckett believes Gregg should have been thrown out for leaving the mound before Ortiz even popped out.

I dont know why they were trying to do that, but it was pretty obvious to me it wasnt just, Ill try to pitch you in, " he said, adding, "Gregg obviously said something to David. David's not the kind of guy that just, you know, something had to set him off.

Echoed Dustin Pedroia, Hes nice to everybody. Obviously he was upset, and thats why that happened.

After the game, both sides spoke of protecting their own. Marco Scutaro, at 5-foot-10, jumped on the 6-foot-6 Greggs back to try to restrain him from going after Ortiz. Josh Reddick, who was on third base at the time, said sticking up for your teammates is a huge thing here in the clubhouse.

And the sentiment was no different for the Orioles.

This is a team sport, said Gregg. I take offense to every run scored off every one of our pitchers. I take offense to every one of our hitters thats hit every time Im out there. Were a family we spend more time together with these 25 guys than I do with my own family. I take it personal. You get tired of getting your butt kicked every night when you come in here and Im going to stick up for whats ours and try to get the plate back.

The Red Sox (53-35) took a full-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East with the win and are fighting to maintain control of the top spot. Even though the Orioles, on the other hand, fell to 36-50, they refuse to stop battling.

I think you show them that were not backing down, said Gregg. Were not scared of them them and their 180 million payroll. We dont care. Were here to play the game. We have just as much right to play the game here and were going to do everything we can to win.

With two game left in the series, the two teams are on opposite ends of the standings, but neither team is planning on backing down.

I hope not, because were a good hitting team, said Beckett. They cant just be hitting our expletive guys because we score a lot of runs. Thats how the games played. And it may have been something totally different. Maybe they saw something they didnt like or whatever, but if its just because we scored eight runs in the first inning, theyre going to start throwing at our expletive guys?

Its going to be a long year.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

red_sox_hanley_ramirez_062317.jpg

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.