DENVER (AP) Nolan Arenado nearly connected for a couple of huge hits.
Furious with a fastball that buzzed behind his back, the Colorado slugger immediately charged the mound. And he came out wildly swinging at pitcher Luis Perdomo.
Arenado’s rush set off a heated fracas in the third inning that led to five ejections during a testy game in which the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 6-4 on Wednesday.
Article continues below ...
”They thought they had to do something,” Arenado said. ”I thought I had to do something, too. That’s kind of why I went out there.”
Perdomo flung his glove at the bolting Arenado and missed. Arenado then threw a couple of big punches at the backpedaling Perdomo, but didn’t land anything squarely.
The All-Star third baseman’s reaction certainly woke up the slumbering Colorado bats, with the Rockies scoring five times in the inning to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
”We won today and that’s all that mattered,” Arenado said.
The tension between these two NL West teams started boiling a night earlier at Coors Field when Padres outfielder Manuel Margot got hit in the ribs by a pitch, putting him on the disabled list. The problems festered early on in the series finale, with Colorado’s Trevor Story being plunked in the first and San Diego’s Hunter Renfroe in the second.
That set the stage for Arenado, who didn’t take kindly to Perdomo’s pitch, as the benches cleared and the relievers sprinted in from the bullpen.
”I had a feeling they could do it to someone,” said Arenado, who expects to be suspended. ”I didn’t think it would be me.”
An incensed Arenado began screaming at Padres catcher A.J. Ellis, leading to San Diego bench coach Mark McGwire holding the All-Star third baseman back. Rockies starter German Marquez got involved by throwing a towel and Colorado outfielder Gerardo Parra looked as if he threw a punch.
Once order was finally restored, the umpires met for several minutes before ejecting Perdomo, Ellis, Arenado, Marquez and Parra.
”Our job is to try and calm everything down, but you’ve got to eject the aggressors,” crew chief Brian Gorman said.
Ellis struggled to understand the situation.
”To react like that and go out there, especially when he didn’t even get hit – the ball was behind him,” Ellis said. ”Nolan goes out and at that point it’s about having each other’s back. You take care of your brothers and teammates.”
This might not be the end of this feud, either. The two teams play again in Denver starting on April 23.
”I don’t have the answer to that one,” Arenado said. ”We’ll see.”
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said he followed Arenado onto the field.
”We don’t show up to the ballpark to create that kind of atmosphere,” Gonzalez said. ”We understand there are a lot of kids watching us play. There are a lot of kids who love No. 28. That’s the last thing they want to see.”
Sometimes, emotions spill over.
”When somebody charges the mound, the whole team is going to come out and defend each other,” Padres manager Andy Green said.
Colorado erupted soon after the melee, sending nine hitters to the plate with most of the damage off reliever Buddy Baumann (0-1) when he took over for Perdomo. The big play was Tony Wolters‘ bases-loaded, two-run single that center fielder Franchy Cordero misplayed to allow another run to score.
Cordero atoned with a solo homer as part of San Diego’s three-run the sixth. Eric Hosmer hit his first homer as a member of the Padres in the eighth.
Antonio Senzatela (1-1) struggled over three innings while filling in for Marquez. Wade Davis pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save as the Rockies finished the homestand 2-4.
Padres: Green said the hope is that Margot’s ribs feel better in four or five days and he can take some swings. … Cordero (groin) was reinstated Wednesday from DL after a rehab assignment at Triple-A El Paso.
Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon was out of the lineup for a second straight game with tightness in his right quad.
The younger brother of Arenado hit a grand slam Tuesday night to lead Double-A Richmond over Colorado’s affiliate, the Hartford Yard Goats. It was the first homer at the Double-A level for Jonah Arenado, a 16th-round pick by San Francisco in 2013.
Padres: Open a four-game series against San Francisco. RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-1, 4.22 ERA) goes for San Diego.
Rockies: Travel to Washington for a four-game set against Washington, with RHP Chad Bettis (1-0, 2.53) starting the opening game.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball