DETROIT -- Manager Brad Ausmus and the Tigers delivered similar messages after Friday night's 7-2 loss to the Red Sox, during which shortstop Jose Iglesias and catcher James McCann got into a shoving match in the dugout.
Tempers flared in the middle of the fourth inning as Iglesias shoved McCann after what appeared to be a heated verbal disagreement. McCann had approached Iglesias while pointing toward the infield, and the shortstop did not respond kindly to the confrontation. Iglesias had to be restrained by third baseman Nick Castellanos as teammates helped defuse the situation.
Center fielder Anthony Gose then appeared to strongly reprimand Iglesias while play resumed.
"I think it shows that they care," Ausmus said. "They care about winning and losing is the most important thing. It's not like this is uncommon. You don't see it all the time on TV cameras, but it's not uncommon on any sports team that guys disagree."
Neither Ausmus nor his players would specify a reason for the conflict, which occurred after the Red Sox padded their lead on a Xander Bogaerts double. The manager said he has spoken to Iglesias and McCann and compared the scuffle to a spat between siblings.
"When you spend seven months with each other, there's going to be disagreements," Ausmus said. "Sometimes, there might be some pushing and shoving.
"There's a lot of bravado involved in those things. I know everyone likes drama, but this is not something that's uncommon. It just happened to be caught on TV. I've seen it dozens of times during my playing career. Sometimes it happens in an airplane; sometimes it happens in the clubhouse."
Ausmus added that he didn't believe any player had demonstrated a lack of effort during the top of the fourth inning and that he didn't mind teammates holding themselves accountable -- though he wished the matter would have been taken care of privately.
Iglesias declined to speak with reporters after the game, while McCann and Gose avoided any specifics.
"If anything, it'll bring the team closer," Gose said. "Teammates fight all the time and have things, and by the end of the year, they're best friends."
"Normally, when teams struggle and stuff like that, guys are going to disagree on things," Alex Avila said.
"What is normally said in the dugout and what is talked about in here is not going to be talked about with you guys [reporters]. That's just the way it is. That's part of the culture, and that's the way it should be. For a team, there's some things that have to be staying the clubhouse. That's just the way it is. That's between us and no one else."
Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.