The Colorado Rockies had Ramon Martinez working out of jams all night, but the one that he couldn’t get out of was in the seventh inning, when he threw at Charlie Hayes. The pitch set off a 10-minute bench-clearing brawl that was followed by another in the eighth inning.
Before the Dodgers’ 12-4 victory was complete Tuesday, three players and Colorado Manager Don Baylor were ejected and the tempers on both benches were a Mile High, as was the crowd of 55,772 that sat through the 3-hour 22-minute game.
“Mine was nothing compared to this,” said Dodger relief pitcher Rick Trlicek, referring to the team’s fight Thursday in San Diego.
The first fight was set up when Martinez, trying to pick Andres Galarraga off first base, hit him in the neck. Galarraga--who had just recorded his ninth consecutive hit--was shaken, but stayed in the game.
With Charlie Hayes at bat, Galarraga tried to steal second base, spiking Jody Reed badly in the arm as Reed tagged him out.
“Everyone knows we are running in every situation we can,” Baylor said. “If a 250-pound guy is coming into second base, you had better catch the ball and get out. If he doesn’t like it, he ought to put a skirt on. It’s the way the game is played. He just can’t stand there.”
Martinez, who had knocked Galarraga down in his previous at-bat, then turned back toward Hayes and sent a fastball inside, hitting Hayes in the chest. Hayes, who weighs 207 pounds, dropped his bat and charged the lanky Martinez, who tried to get away but was pulled under as both benches spilled onto the field.
Said Martinez: “I didn’t throw at him. I threw a pitch that was inside, and the ball was kind of slicing from my hand and hit him.”
Hayes was so angry that it took several players to contain him. Even after umpires had restored order, Hayes was trying to break away and fight. He was escorted past the Dodger dugout to the Rockie clubhouse in left field, as the crowd chanted, “Charlie, Charlie.”
“Sure I was out there,” Pedro Martinez said. “Protecting my teammates and my brother.”
Galarraga said he didn’t know if Martinez tried to hit him, but said a lot of things were happening on the field. “If they want to play hard, I’ll play hard, too,” Galarraga said. “But I hit (Reed) clean. I didn’t put my cleats in his face and I wasn’t trying to cut him.”
Reed suffered a bruise on his left elbow from Galarraga’s spiking and left the game an inning later.
“I don’t care what he says, no question about it, it was premeditated. It was an extremely dirty play,” Reed said.
Martinez also was ejected, and both teams were warned by the umpires against retaliation.
At the time of Brawl I, the Rockies were ahead, 3-2. But minutes later, after the Dodgers had gone ahead, 5-3, in the eighth inning on Mike Piazza’s second home run of the night, Rockie reliever Keith Shepherd threw behind Cory Snyder.
Snyder dropped his bat and raised his arms.
“I was shocked,” Snyder said. “I stared at him, ‘like what is this, a wrestling match?’ He put his hands down and motioned to me: ‘Come on, come on, let’s go.’
“Joey Amalfitano and Brett Butler were there and said, ‘don’t go out there. It’ll be an automatic three-game suspension and we need you,’ so I didn’t, but the bench was already on its way.”
Leading the charge was the other Dodger right fielder, Darryl Strawberry, with Eric Davis right with him. “They cut us off when we got there, but Lenny got him and Carlos (Hernandez) got him,” said Strawberry, who did not play. “You have to protect your teammates. Cory did the right thing, not going out there. Let us come off the bench and do it. I don’t mind.”
Ejected from the game were Baylor and Shepherd, who has been an amateur boxer and who tipped his hat to the crowd as he walked to the Colorado clubhouse.
“It was just a bad situation that developed before I knew what was happening,” Shepherd said. “Punches flew everywhere. I was just trying to stay on my feet.”
It was Baylor’s second consecutive ejection, his first coming Monday night under milder circumstances: he argued a pitch call.
Roger McDowell (3-0) was active in both fights and got the victory in relief. “I got knocked to the bottom of the pile, but we won. How could I be hurt? I got the win.”
But Galarraga, the crowd favorite, remained in the game. His single in the seventh inning raised his batting average to .437.
The Dodgers seemed to take their aggressions out at the plate after the fight. They turned a 5-3 lead into a 12-4 rout with a seven-run ninth inning against three Rockie relievers: Andy Ashby, Gary Wayne and Jeff Parrett. Piazza went four for five, with two home runs and five runs batted in.
“We didn’t come out with any extra fire, we just had to get down with the business of the game,” Piazza said.
Galarraga, who had been four for four Monday and four for four Tuesday going into the ninth inning, then dribbled a routine grounder to second baseman Lenny Harris, ending his streak at nine, one short of the National League record.