Bradley tossed, hurt as Padres lose to surging Rockies 7-3

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—A wild-card race that was already wild turned absolutely bizarre Sunday, and Milton Bradley was right in the middle of it for the San Diego Padres.

Bradley was ejected and then hurt his right knee when Padres manager Bud Black spun him to the ground in an attempt to keep him from going after an umpire.

The Padres were livid, claiming that first base umpire Mike Winters baited Bradley, leading to a confrontation that overshadowed the surging Colorado Rockies’ 7-3 win and an impressive three-game sweep of the wild card-leading Padres.

Bradley, whose volatile temper has overshadowed his talent during his career, called it “the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s terrible. And now, because of him, my knee’s hurt,” said Bradley, a second-half catalyst for the Padres who was in his third game back from an injury that sidelined him for nearly two weeks. “If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I’m taking some action. I’m not going to stand pat and accept this because I didn’t do nothing wrong.”

Asked about his knee, Bradley said: “I’ve got to get an MRI. It’s killing me, though.”

The punchless Padres retained their half-game lead over Philadelphia, which lost 5-3 to Washington, while the Rockies pulled within 1 1/2 games by winning their season-high eighth straight.

San Diego stayed 2 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West with seven to play. Colorado is four back of the Diamondbacks with six games remaining.

An inning before Bradley was hurt, the Padres lost center fielder Mike Cameron after Bradley stepped on his right hand while the two pursued Garrett Atkins’ inside-the-park home run.

As Bradley walked to the plate in the eighth, umpire Brian Runge asked the player if he had flipped his bat in the ump’s direction after taking a called third strike to end the fifth.

“I said, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous,”’ Bradley said. “He said, ‘Well, it was reported to me by the other umpires that you threw your bat at me.’ And I said, ‘That’s completely ridiculous. I’ve done a lot of things. I’m trying to turn it around. I would never harm anybody.”’

Bradley singled, then asked Winters if he told Runge he threw his bat. “He goes, ‘Yeah, you did.’ I go, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s completely ridiculous. If I strike out and the inning’s over, why are you looking at me? Everything’s always about me.”’

Then, a fan heckled Winters.

“I pointed to the guy in the crowd, affirming it,” Bradley said.

Bradley said Winters responded with a string of expletives.

“That’s when I went at him and he kicked me out,” Bradley said.

First base coach Bobby Meacham began to restrain Bradley, and Black came running out. Bradley got away from Meacham, but Black grabbed him by the jersey.

Bradley was attempting to get free and, after a few seconds, Black spun Bradley around and the player collapsed. Bradley immediately grabbed his right knee and eventually had to be helped off the field.

“I was trying to pull Milton away from the argument,” said Black, later ejected for arguing a checked-swing call against Adrian Gonzalez.

Crew chief Bruce Froemming wouldn’t allow a reporter to speak with Winters.

Froemming said Bradley “got grumpy with Mike Winters. Winters told him to knock it off and he continued it. There is no covering up what he did. He had to be physically restrained.”

Meacham defended Bradley.

“In 26 years of baseball, I can honestly say that’s the most disconcerting conversation I have ever heard from an umpire to a player,” Meacham said. “It was almost like he wanted to agitate the whole thing. He wanted to get Milton boiling for some reason. Milton, he held his cool. I was just appalled.”

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson, a former general manager and president of the Oakland Athletics, said he’d never seen a player injured like that. “But as far as I’m concerned, it was necessary,” he said.

Alderson used to work in the commissioner’s office, where one of his duties was overseeing umpires.

“We’re not going to sit by and see an umpire bait a player,” Alderson said. He added that if the commissioner’s office concludes the situation was handled appropriately, “I’ll be shocked.”

Brad Hawpe homered for the second time in three games and Jeff Francis earned his 17th victory for the Rockies, who roughed up Greg Maddux.

The Rockies won their franchise-best 84th game as they try for the second playoff appearance in their 15-year history.

“Their actions speak louder than anything I can tell you guys,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I’m just proud of the way they’re going about their business.”

Hawpe went 8-for-13 with two homers and five RBIs in the series. He is 12-for-21 with 10 RBIs in his last five games.

Francis (17-8) held the Padres to two runs and seven hits in eight innings to tie the franchise mark for wins in a season. He struck out eight and walked one.

Maddux (13-11) lasted only 3 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and eight hits.

Bradley homered to center in the third. Josh Bard connected in the ninth.


The Rockies tied the 1997 franchise record with 36 road wins. … Francis’ 17th win tied Kevin Ritz (1996) and Pedro Astacio (1999) for the franchise single-season record.

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