Beckett sparks bench-clearing brawl
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A high pitch from Josh Beckett to Bobby Abreu as time was being called touched off a bench-clearing incident in the first inning of Sunday's game between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels.
With Chone Figgins at second base, one out and a 1-2 count on Abreu, Beckett remained in the stretch position for several seconds while getting the sign he wanted from catcher Jason Varitek. Just as plate umpire Paul Schreiber jumped out to call time, Beckett threw the ball over Abreu's head as he backed out of the batter's box.
Abreu said something to Beckett and was held back by Schreiber, then both dugouts and bullpens emptied. No punches were thrown, and the Angels were ordered back to the dugout by manager Mike Scioscia, who was in the middle of a conversation with crew chief Joe West when Beckett came off the mound and said something to Scioscia.
Suddenly, the benches and bullpens spilled onto the diamond again, and this time there was some pushing and shoving. Angels center fielder Torii Hunter was ejected by West and had to be restrained by teammate Howie Kendrick. Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and reliever Justin Speier also were ejected.
When play resumed, Abreu grounded out and Beckett retired Vladimir Guerrero.
Kevin Youkilis led off the Boston second, and the count was 1-2 on him when Scioscia yelled something from the dugout and was ejected by third base ump Ed Rapuano. Scioscia came back on the field to argue with Rapuano and West, and after play resumed, Youkilis and J.D. Drew hit back-to-back home runs against Dustin Moseley.
The Red Sox have knocked the Angels out of the playoffs in three of the last five seasons, and their 5-4 win on Saturday snapped a spring of nine consecutive wins by the Angels over them.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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