MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Beanballs, stare downs, ejections.
Both benches emptied when Shannon Stewart and Cleveland reliever Jason Davis got into a confrontation near the plate after Stewart scored in the seventh. Davis had hit Stewart with a pitch, but no punches were thrown and there was no further trouble.
Davis said Stewart bumped into him after scoring the run.
“Getting hit is part of the game,” Davis said. “But those little cheap elbows isn’t. That surprised me. A guy like him … doing something childish like that.”
Stewart said it was incidental contact and he took exception after Davis jawed in his direction.
“I guess I bumped into him,” Stewart said. “I was already upset about getting hit and now he’s talking to me? … If I wanted to hit him, I could’ve hit him. We were real close to each other.”
The Twins have had trouble with Davis and the Indians before. Davis was ejected in 2003 along with Twins center fielder Torii Hunter after Hunter took exception to an inside pitch from Davis.
“I don’t know what’s going on with that guy,” Hunter said. “He has no class whatsoever. With the history we have with that guy, it’s sick.”
After Davis plunked Stewart, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came onto the field to check on him. Plate umpire Ted Barrett then issued a warning to both benches. That got Gardenhire upset, and Barrett ejected the manager, which whipped Gardenhire into a hat-tossing, dirt-kicking frenzy.
“Teddy Barrett did his job,” Gardenhire said. “I know what they’re trying to do, but I think you should think about the history of what he has done to us before. He throws at everybody. He threw at our guy and he doesn’t give a flying flip. That’s what’s sad about the game—nothing’s going to happen to him and I might get fined.”
Even the dustup couldn’t overshadow a brilliant performance by Radke (3-3), who struck out eight in his 10th career shutout and 36th complete game. He carried a no-hitter into the fourth before Hunter misjudged a line drive by Victor Martinez that fell for a hit.
That was just about the only hiccup for Radke, who gave up just two more hits the rest of the way—Ben Broussard’s eighth-inning double and Coco Crisp’s ninth-inning single. Radke walked none and matched a career low for hits allowed.
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge agreed.
“Probably the best I’ve ever seen him,” Wedge said. “He threw his pitches wherever he wanted to.”
Sabathia, who rankled Minnesota players and Gardenhire earlier this season when he said he “hated” the Twins, was nowhere near as effective.
The big lefty later backed off those comments, saying he was jealous of Cleveland’s division rivals who have won three straight AL Central titles. And he gave the Twins a little charity in the fifth after Bartlett led off the inning with his second homer of the season.
Sabathia came unglued, giving up three straight singles to Matthew LeCroy, Hunter and Terry Tiffee to load the bases. He then walked Michael Cuddyer to score LeCroy, gave up an RBI single to Redmond and walked Luis Rivas to score Hunter for a 4-0 Twins lead.
“No excuses for the way I pitched. I was all over the place,” Sabathia said.
He was relieved by Rafael Betancourt, who gave up a run-scoring fielder’s choice to Stewart and got Bartlett to fly out to end the five-run inning.
That was more than enough for Radke, who plowed through the Cleveland lineup to ensure that the Indians would not complete their first sweep at the Metrodome since April 1999.
Sabathia (2-1) gave up five runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. As he strode off the mound, he turned and stared into the Twins’ dugout.
“Not very classy,” said Gardenhire, who refused to say Sabathia’s name. “I don’t like to say his name because he hates us.”
LeCroy hit a solo homer in the sixth, and the Twins added three more in a wild seventh that included Gardenhire’s ejection and the scrum behind home plate.
It was the second ejection of the season for Gardenhire, and the 17th of his career. He was also tossed against the Angels for arguing about a warning.
“I will protect my players and our pitchers will protect our players,” Gardenhire said. “We’re not saying we’re going to go out and whack their guys, but we will brush them back like the rest of them. There’s a difference between brushing people back and whacking guys. We’ve been whacked a few times. … It gets old.”
The Twins are headed on the road for a six-game swing against Tampa Bay and Baltimore. … The Indians are in the middle of a nine-game road trip, with a three-game series at Texas beginning Friday.