Belle Brawls as Umpire Slammed

From Staff and Wire Reports

Albert Belle decked Milwaukee second baseman Fernando Vina with a high, vicious forearm in the eighth inning, and Cleveland reliever Julian Tavarez slammed umpire Joe Brinkman to the ground during a bench-clearing brawl in the ninth Friday night in the Indians’ 10-4 victory over the Brewers at Milwaukee.

The trouble started in the eighth after Belle was hit by a 3-2 pitch.

“I wasn’t going to get mad. We’re going to get even,” Belle said after the game.

Belle wasted no time, flattening Vina as he was about to be tagged out on a grounder. The 5-foot-9 Vina got up and jawed at the 6-2 Belle, but did not retaliate.


“He broke my nose,” Vina said. “It ain’t right for a guy to come at your face like that.”

The crowd booed the Indians’ controversial outfielder as he walked off, and several sheriff’s deputies converged behind the Cleveland dugout where fans were yelling.

In the ninth, Brewer reliever Terry Burrows threw three inside pitches to Belle before hitting him in the left shoulder. At the end of the inning, Belle talked to Tavarez before taking his position in left field.

Tavarez’s first pitch sailed behind the back of Mike Matheny, who charged the mound. In the ensuing melee, Tavarez picked up Brinkman, who had bear-hugged the pitcher from behind, and threw down the first base umpire.


Cleveland Manager Mike Hargrove called Brinkman after the game, telling him that Tavarez did not realize he was being held back by an umpire.

Belle, joining the fracas, ran over Brewer pitcher Steve Sparks. Tavarez and Matheny were ejected.

At the end of the game, sheriff’s deputies and security personnel came on the field, and there were no incidents.

Manny Ramirez homered, doubled and drove in three runs as the Indians routed the Brewers.


Tony Pena equaled a career high with four hits and Dennis Martinez (8-2) gave up two earned runs and six hits in seven innings.


Rusty Greer hit a two-run single as the Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins, 7-2, at Arlington, Texas for their sixth consecutive victory. . . . Kevin Tapani blanked the Detroit Tigers for eight innings as the Chicago White Sox won, 9-0, at Chicago. . . . Pat Hentgen came within one out of his third complete game of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, at Toronto. . . . Jimmy Key came off the disabled list to pitch six innings of three-hit ball as the New York Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics, 4-1, at Oakland. . . . Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez hit three-run homers and the Seattle Mariners overcame a four-run deficit to beat the Boston Red Sox, 9-6, at Seattle.