A’s Fight Back and Win, 9-6 : Baseball: Davis ignites brawl after Angels blow early lead as bullpen reverts to its old form.
A few hours after agreeing to a three-year Angel deal worth more than $11 million, Chili Davis celebrated by precipitating a dugout-and-bullpen-clearing brawl with the Oakland Athletics Thursday night.
“Brawls are good every once in a while,” Davis said, smiling. “It wakes people up.”
Davis, 35, who earned the contract as much for his inspirational leadership as his offensive prowess, didn’t build a large enough fire under his teammates on this evening, however. The Angels, who blew an early lead and then left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings, went down without much further swinging as the A’s held on for a 9-6 victory before an announced paid crowd of 11,817 at Anaheim Stadium.
Damion Easley and Jorge Fabregas both took called third strikes with the bases full in theseventh after order had been restored.
The fracas began after Davis looped a one-out single to center in the seventh. Tim Salmon, who had homered in the sixth, couldn’t avoid a Jim Corsi fastball that hit him under the left arm. Salmon calmly walked to first base, but Davis, giving Corsi an evil stare on his way to second, suddenly turned left and headed toward the mound.
A’s first baseman Mark McGwire intervened with a restraining bear hug, and players from both benches and bullpens swarmed onto the field around second base.
“It may have looked like I started it, but I didn’t,” Davis said. “He asked me what I was looking at. If you don’t hit a guy intentionally, then you don’t start popping off to me. I’m 6-2, 230 and I’m not running from anybody, especially a pitcher.
“I said, ‘You want some of me? I’m not going anywhere.’ And that’s when I started in.”
Angel right-hander Shawn Boskie charged out and slammed into Corsi, and suffered a slight cervical sprain. He will have precautionary X-rays taken today.
The fight was the typical baseball variety--some pushing, shoving, hair-pulling and obscenity-tossing--yet, it might have been the most artistic part of this game.
The Angels got four runs in the second inning on four hits, all with two out, off starter Todd Stottlemyre, the free-agent the Angels couldn’t afford. Stottlemyre, who signed with Oakland for $1.8 million, lasted five innings and gave up nine hits and six earned runs.
Proving that you don’t always get what you pay for, Scott Sanderson, the starter the budget-conscious Angels signed for $200,000, went 5 1/3 innings and yielded only two earned runs.
“It looked like it was going to be a blowout for us,” Davis said. “But then that play in the sixth opened the door for them, and things got out of hand.”
The A’s, who also scored an unearned run in the third, scored five runs in the sixth. One came home on J.T. Snow’s throwing error after Geronimo Berroa barely avoided pinch-hitter Rickey Henderson’s soft line drive. Snow and the Angels argued that the ball hit Berroa, but they lost that fight.
Oakland then scored two more runs when left fielder Tony Phillips apparently lost a line drive off the bat of Scott Brosius in the lights and turned away at the last moment as the ball sailed past him to the wall.
Salmon’s homer in the sixth narrowed the gap to 7-6, but the Angel bullpen, which had been performing well recently, began to show signs of its earlier form.
Russ Springer came on to pitch the seventh and hit McGwire with one out. Then Berroa got all of Springer’s fastball and sent it deep into the seats in left-center.
And the Angels went own without much swinging.
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