OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros apparently were tired of playing nice.
So following two quiet games at the Coliseum, true feelings seemed to come out and tempers flared Sunday, months after Houston’s sign-stealing scandal was brought to light by Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers.
Things got so angry the benches cleared — and the stands emptied, too, during Oakland’s 7-2 victory over the AL West rival Astros.
The Athletics' ninth straight win was far overshadowed by what erupted in the seventh inning. The skirmish came less than two weeks after the Astros tangled with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team they beat in the 2017 World Series.
Oakland’s Ramon Laureano got hit by a pitch — for the third time in the three-game series — this one by Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh, and pointed at the rookie right-hander.
Laureano then began exchanging words with animated Astros hitting coach Álex Cintrón, left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began charging toward him in the first base dugout.
Astros catcher Dustin Garneau left the bench to tackle Laureano before the A’s outfielder reached Cintrón, and a wild scene ensued.
“I was just trying to stop the situation before punches were really thrown and stuff got out of hand,” Garneau said. “That's really what my whole goal was for that incident.”