Athletics

A's, Astros benches clear after Ramon Laureano hit by pitch, taunted

Athletics

Ramon Laureano had enough with the Houston Astros' antics.

The A's center fielder was hit by a pitch for the second time Sunday at the Coliseum, and he took exception, which ended up causing a benches-clearing brawl between the AL West rivals.

Most observers expected the series to get fiery, but not quite in this way.

After Astros reliever Humberto Castellanos hit Laureano in the bottom of the seventh inning, he had some words for the pitcher. When Laureano, who was hit three times in the series, reached first base, players and coaches in the Astros' dugout started chirping with him. It appears Houston's hitting coach, Alex Cintron, was the most vocal.

That's when Laureano darted toward the Astros' dugout, forcing his A's teammates to run across to the field to come to his defense.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Former A's catcher Dustin Garneau stepped in front of Cintron and tackled Laureano before he could get to the Astros' hitting coach. The brawl split into two separate skirmishes, and eventually, Laureano was escorted back to the A's dugout.

The umpire threw Laureano out of the game. A's catcher Austin Allen also was ejected, but no Astros players and coaches were.

In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, 50-plus people converging for a brawl is not what Major League Baseball wants.

 

In light of the Astros' sign-stealing scandal that was uncovered over the offseason, the belief was that the A's might retaliate by hitting Houston batters. But in the A's three-game sweep that extended their winning streak to nine and AL West lead to five games, Oakland pitchers didn't hit Houston batters at all. Meanwhile, Astros pitchers plunked A's hitters four times.

Ironically, Astros reliever Brandon Bailey hit Laureano in the bottom of the fifth inning Sunday. The two players were traded for each other in 2017.

[RELATED: A's a lock to make playoffs, according to Fangraphs]

Both teams can expect to hear from the league office, and penalties for Laureano, Cintron and others surely will be handed down for causing the brawl.

For context, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended eight games earlier this season for throwing at Astros batters and causing the benches to clear.

The A's and Astros next play each other in Houston at the end of August. Despite whatever punishment MLB hands down, don't expect the bitterness between the sides to subside.