The Dodgers took it personally when Arizona’s Ian Kennedy hit their star rookie Yasiel Puig in the face with a pitch. Then they really got mad when Kennedy hit starter Zack Greinke with another high pitch.
Punches replaced pitches at that point as a heated brawl involving players and coaches ensued, resulting in six ejections before the Dodgers rallied to beat the Diamondbacks 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Kennedy, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and coach Turner Ward, along with Puig, reliever Ronald Belisario and Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire were ejected in the seventh inning after the prolonged scuffle against a railing that nearly spilled into the stands.
”There were four of us and what, 60 of them?” crew chief Brian Gorman told a pool reporter after the game.
In the top of the seventh, Greinke hit Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero in the back — drawing a warning from the umpire — and both teams came charging onto the field, but the scrum broke up quickly with no punches thrown.
”Puig gets hit in the face, Montero gets hit, it should have been really over at this point,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Greinke hitting Montero was payback for Kennedy hitting Puig in bottom of the sixth — the ball deflected off Puig’s shoulder and grazed his nose. It wasn’t broken and he didn’t sustain a concussion, the team said. Puig didn’t appear at his locker after the game to talk with reporters.
”If you can’t pitch inside without hitting someone in the head, you shouldn’t pitch inside,” Mattingly said.
Kennedy said he was just trying to pitch inside to Puig, who came into the game batting .500.
”I thought I got him on the shoulder, but by his reaction, I figure I got him somewhere in the face,” he said. ”I definitely did not want to hit a guy with two strikes and put somebody like him on base.”
Kennedy then hit Greinke in the upper left shoulder – the ball deflected off his helmet – with one out in the seventh and the game tied 2-all. It was the 41st batter Kennedy has hit since the start of 2010.
”I honestly had no idea that it was that high until I saw the replay,” Kennedy said.
Mattingly believed otherwise, using an expletive to express his disagreement.
After the game, Greinke said he didn’t want to discuss the brawl.
”That’s when it kind of got out of hand,” Tim Federowicz said about Greinke getting hit. ”You can’t do that.”
Kennedy immediately was tossed and calmly walked toward the Diamondbacks dugout before players poured onto the field and relievers ran in from the bullpens.
”Everything happened so fast,” Mattingly said. ”It just gets a little crazy out there.”
Belisario began throwing punches and a shouting Puig rushed into the melee.
”I was out of my mind just trying to protect my teammates,” Belisario said. ”If you want to hit somebody, don’t hit a pitcher. Don’t hit guys in the head. That’s crazy.”
Third base umpire Larry Vanover said Puig and McGwire were ejected for ”instigating,” while Belisario was deemed to be ”out of control.”
”That doesn’t mean that other people won’t get fined,” Gorman said. ”The league will look at video.”
Ward got slammed against a railing and was put in a headlock by Dodgers left fielder Skip Schumaker, who appeared to be trying to break up the fight as both teams kept pushing closer to the stands.
”I’ve never seen a pitcher throw at two guys’ heads before,” Schumaker said. ”It’s dangerous.”
Ward seemed to getting pummeled, but Gorman said he was tossed for being aggressive in the fight.
”It’s hard not to, when they go after you,” the umpire said. ”Pushing and shoving, when it gets over by the dugout in the fan’s area, it gets kind of dangerous. You have the railing there. You can’t go anywhere when you get pushed up against the railing.”
Several star players of another generation were right in the middle of it.
McGwire had Gibson’s jersey and windbreaker with both hands and was screaming at him.
”I know they’re mad. They thought we hit Puig, but certainly we didn’t,” Gibson said. ”The guy hits everything out over the plate. But the ball got away from Ian and got inside. It’s as simple as that. I didn’t order anything. It’s certainly not what Ian wanted to do.”
Mattingly had to be restrained as he tried to get at Gibson, then they exchanged words briefly. McGwire and third base coach Matt Williams grabbed each other’s shirts in a tense standoff and shouted at each other.
”Donnie was mad and I’m sure they’ll accept no culpability,” Gibson said.
Montero, still in full catching gear, ended up on the ground next to Ward.
”It got pretty ugly,” Montero said. ”They came out of nowhere, just throwing punches. When everybody was trying to break it up, they just kept coming and throwing punches. It was like 25 against 72, because all the DL guys were out there, too. I guess their arms were feeling pretty good because they were throwing good punches.”
When play resumed, Greinke took his spot at first base and made a hard slide into second base when Schumaker, the next batter, grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Greinke had spent more than a month on the disabled list after breaking his collarbone in a brawl with San Diego’s Carlos Quentin, who charged the mound after being hit with a pitch on April 11.
Federowicz hit a go-ahead three-run double in the eighth inning after David Hernandez (3-2) walked the bases loaded.
After Puig got hit, Andre Ethier followed with a two-run homer off Kennedy that tied the game 2-all.
Willie Bloomquist’s RBI single in the eighth gave Arizona a 3-2 lead.
Matt Guerrier (2-2) got the win and Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth to earn his third save.
NOTES:The Dodgers placed OF Scott Van Slyke on the 15-day DL with left shoulder bursitis and optioned INF Justin Sellers to Triple-A Albuquerque. The team recalled OF Alex Castellanos and RHP Chris Withrow from Albuquerque