Shields' pitch to BoSox's Crisp sparks bench-clearing brawl

Updated: June 6, 2008, 2:04 AM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Boston center fielder Coco Crisp was hit on the right hip by Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields, prompting a benches-clearing brawl in the second inning of the Red Sox's 7-1 win Thursday night.

Crisp dropped his bat, charged the mound, ducked a wild right by Shields before throwing a few punches that may have grazed Shields before being tackled to the ground by catcher Dioner Navarro.

Rays DH Jonny Gomes charged the mound from the dugout, jumped on Navarro and Crisp, and threw a few punches that hit Crisp while he was on the ground.

The teams have a history of on-field confrontations.

The tempers carried over from Wednesday's game when Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Crisp "intentionally" tried hurt somebody. He slid hard into second baseman Akinori Iwamura when he was caught stealing two innings after he felt shortstop Jason Bartlett blocked the bag with his leg. Crisp said he injured his left thumb against Bartlett's leg.

Shields and Crisp were both ejected. Chris Carter pinch-ran for Crisp and Grant Balfour replaced Shields.

[+] EnlargeJames Shields and Coco Crisp
AP Photo/Michael DwyerRed Sox center fielder Coco Crisp, left, avoids a punch by the Rays' James Shields during Thursday's game. The fight sparked a bench-clearing brawl.

Gomes was also ejected.

"It's simple," Gomes said, when asked what he was doing when he got to the mound. "I'm just going out there for my pitcher's defense."

After Wednesday's game, Maddon said "I believe the players should take care of things on the field."

Crisp was also involved in a flare-up in the eighth Wednesday. When he went to the mound to make a pitching change, Maddon turned toward the Red Sox dugout and said something to Crisp.

"Everybody else on the mound started looking over there so I got louder," Crisp said after the game. "I don't know if he could hear what I was saying but basically I just said, 'I did that on my own so don't punish anybody else on the team."

Crisp said he was upset with shortstop Bartlett, not Iwamura, after Bartlett put his knee down in front of the bag on Crisp's successful steal in the sixth. His thumb was bandaged after the game, but he started Thursday.

"I told him ... I'd get back on base and then I'm going to show him how I felt about it," Crisp said. "It wasn't as dramatic as it probably would have been if he would have covered the bag."

Maddon said Crisp intended to injure Iwamura.

"There's no place for that when you intentionally try to hurt somebody," Maddon said.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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