Zack Greinke may have to look into hiring a bodyguard. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace engaged in a beanball war with Arizona Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy, angering coaches and prompting yet another wild bench-clearing brawl.
The Dodgers-Diamondbacks game turned nasty in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s NL West matchup, when Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig stepped up to the plate to face Kennedy. The Diamondbacks starter threw a fastball that hit Puig squarely in the nose, knocking the 22-year-old into the dirt and drawing gasps from the hometown crowd.
Greinke retaliated in the next inning, beaning Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero in the back and eliciting the first of two bench-clearing incidents. Both teams rushed out to confront each other, but other than a few pushes and shoves, it seemed that cooler heads would prevail — until the seventh inning, at least.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly decided to send Greinke out to bat, opening up his ace to Kennedy’s retribution. Sure enough, Kennedy responded by drilling Greinke in the head with a fastball of his own, resulting in his immediate ejection and sparking a second, violent bench-clearing brawl.
“What he did to [Montero] was obvious,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t think it was right what he did to Miggy.”
While the brawl failed to escalate to the levels of April’s Dodgers-Padres brawl — in which Greinke broke his collarbone — it did have its fair share of fireworks. Puig was understandably furious at Kennedy and could be seen in the center of the fray. Dodgers reliever Roland Belisario was also heavily involved, while one Diamondbacks player was nearly thrown over a dugout railing.
"It got pretty ugly," Montero said after the Dodgers-Diamondbacks brawl. "Everybody came out of nowhere throwing punches and punches. It was like 25 against 72. All their DL guys were out there, too."
The Dodgers-Diamondbacks brawl wasn’t limited to players — each teams’ coaches were willing to mix it up. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire had a vice-like grip on Diamondbacks coach Matt Williams’ shirt and looked ready to explode at any second. Meanwhile, Mattingly uncharacteristically lost his cool, tossing Diamondbacks coach Alan Trammell to the ground.
The managers continued their spat after the game. “I’m sure they’ll accept no culpability at all,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. Mattingly added, “I just thought it was B.S. … It really should have been over at Montero.”
In the end, Puig, Mattingly, Kennedy, Arizona first-base coach Turner Ward, Belisario and Gibson were all ejected for their roles in the brawl and could face suspensions. And after all that, the NL West rivals still had a game to finish. The Dodgers eventually rallied to beat the Diamondbacks, 5-3.