PHOENIX – A massive brawl between Canada and Mexico broke out in the ninth inning of their World Baseball Classic game Saturday afternoon after Canada's bunt for a hit with a six-run lead prompted a retaliatory hit-by-pitch.
Dozens of punches were thrown, players were strewn about the ground at Chase Field and umpires needed nearly five minutes to separate the teams.
In the brawl's immediate aftermath, a fan threw a loaded plastic bottle which struck Canada pitching coach Denis Boucher. Shortstop Cale Iorg picked it up and whipped it back into the stands. Later, after the game had resumed, a fan threw a foul ball back onto the field and nearly hit Canada first-base coach Larry Walker.
[Slideshow: Mexico-Canada brawl at WBC]
Canada won 10-3, eliminating Mexico (1-2) from the tournament. No injuries were reported from both sides.
"You can't hurt us Canadians," said manager Ernie Whitt.
There were no signs of rancor until Canada catcher Chris Robinson bunted for a hit with a 9-3 lead in the top of the ninth, a debatable breach of baseball etiquette since run differential matters in tournament pool play. After fielding the bunt, Mexico third baseman Luis Cruz appeared to make a gesture to pitcher Arnold Leon to hit the next batter. The next two pitches from Leon to Rene Tosoni were inside, and home-plate umpire Brian Gorman warned both dugouts. Leon did not heed the warning, hitting Tosoni. The Canadian batter walked toward the mound, the benches emptied, the teams went face to face and Cruz threw a punch at Canada's Scott Mathieson, starting the brawl that splintered in a half-dozen directions.
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"He just lost it a little bit," Mexico manager Rick Renteria said of his pitcher.
Canada's Jay Johnson punched Eduardo Arredondo. Mexico's Alfredo Aceves tangled with multiple players from Canada. The brawl seemed to end before players started another fracas, though that quickly died down.
Leon, Aceves and Arredondo were ejected, along with Canada's Pete Orr, Johnson and Tosoni.
Over the public-address system, announcers in English and Spanish urged fans to calm down and threatened immediate arrest for those who refused to comply.
"What happened tonight is because of the rules they have," Whitt said, blaming the fracas on run differential. Canada (1-1) wanted to score as many runs as possible, in case of a three-way tie with the U.S. and Mexico that would be broken by which team had the greatest differential in games among the three.
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