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Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels personnel traded barbs following a wild brawl Sunday which led to eight people being ejected from the game.
The Mariners thought the pitch from Andrew Wantz that hit batter Jesse Winker was a part of a way to get back at the team for a pitch that came close to hitting Mike Trout’s head on Saturday night. Seattle manager Scott Servais thought the Angels’ using an opener in Wantz sent a message. Wantz also threw a pitch behind Julio Rodriguez.
“That probably shouldn’t happen in the game, what happened out there today. Emotions running high, but it was pretty clear what was going on. They switched, put an opener in there to throw some balls at us. Got out of hand from there, and kind of a black eye,” Servais told reporters.
Wantz said he was just overly excited and claimed the first pitch slipped.
“I was pretty amped up for my first start, and the first one kind of just got away from me,” Wantz told reporters, via MLB.com. “I was sweaty. It’s the first day game I’ve pitched in. That’s that. The second one to Winker was a cut fastball inside and just yanked it. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin chalked the brawl up to the teams’ rivalry and the number of games that were played in such a short span. The Angels and Mariners playing eight games against each other in 11 days.
“Look, you play eight games in a matter of a week against the same team, things like this happen,” Nevin said. “The scheduling, tensions, that’s baseball sometimes, unfortunately. There’s some ugly incidents once in a while. I think that’s just what happened today.”
Mariners closer Marco Gonzales said throwing behind Rodriguez was a “classless” move.
“To throw at Julio, who’s a kid, over something that happened last night when we were trying to win a ballgame in the ninth inning (and not) put the tying run on base, it’s just classless to come out and change your pitcher before the game. It’s clear. The intention is clear,” Gonzales said.
After Winker was hit, video showed Winker and injured Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon getting into it. Rendon shoved Winker in the face with his left hand while a cast was on his right.
Punches were being thrown among players from both sides. Players and coaches were being pulled off each other while others were squaring up looking for more tussling. While cooler heads were thought to have prevailed for a few moments, players from both sides began to push and shove each other again.
Winker would throw up the double-middle-finger salute to Angels fans as he walked back to his own dugout. Angels pitcher Raisel Iglesias was among those who were ejected as well. Before he left the dugout, Iglesias made sure to launch sunflower seeds onto the field.
Winker said he would only apologize for flipping off the fans.
“The only thing I’m going to apologize for is flipping the fans off,” he said. “That’s it. As fans, they’re spending their hard-earned money to come watch us play a game, and they didn’t deserve that, so I apologize to the fans, especially the women and children.”
The Angels won the game, 2-1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.