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Big League Stew

Three ejected in Giants, Phillies bench-clearing brawl

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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The dog days of summer aren't here just yet. At least not for the undisputed two best teams in the National League. No, no, there's a playoff atmosphere at AT&T Park for the big weekend series, and the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies are fighting each other tooth-and-nail with playoff intensity.

With an emphasis on the word fighting. {YSP:MORE}

It all went down in the sixth inning on Friday night. Jimmy Rollins had just singled home two, pushing Philadelphia's lead to a pretty comfortable 8-2. Rollins would then steal second base, which apparently rubbed a few Giants the wrong way. Hey, I guess when you're only expecting to score six runs in a series you can't expect to score six in four innings.

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That led to Ramon Ramirez hitting Shane Victorino in the back with one of his next pitches.

And now the fun begins.

Unhappy about being the target, Victorino flipped the bat away and took one threatening step towards Ramirez. Catcher Eli Whiteside quickly hopped in front of Victorino as a human shield for Ramirez, and then appeared to challenge any and all members of the on-charging Phillies, before attempting to take down the smaller Placido Polanco with a double leg.

He failed.

Soon thereafter the benches were completely emptied and a giant rugby scrum broke out on the first base side of the pitching mound. Victorino, who at that point was still being restrained by home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, broke free and dove recklessly into the pile, colliding with Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens. Amazingly, neither were injured as the entire blob seemed to roll over them to the third base side of the mound.

Watch the benches clear

When all was said and done, Victorino, Whiteside and Ramirez were all ejected from the game. But Victorino insisted afterward that he never intended to incite a brawl.

"Yeah, absolutely, I think he did," Victorino said of Ramirez plunking him intentionally. "That's why I took a step forward. I had no intentions of going out there and charging the mound. I just wanted to go out there and get an answer. … Obviously, Eli felt like, from looking at his reaction, I was going to go. He started jumping around. Polanco came in and he tackled Polanco. Everything escalated from there."

While I agree that Whiteside's actions escalated the situation, I can't really fault him for misreading Victorino's body language. That, along with Victorino's reentry into the fray that risked injury to several, will likely earn the Flyin' Hawaiian the stiffest penalty. Though Whiteside is sure to get a healthy one himself.

By the way, the Phillies held on to win the game 9-2. Oh, and the two teams will hook up again the next two afternoons. More fireworks? Stay tuned.

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