Wilhelmsen hits Iannetta after allowing pair of homers in eighth
By Dave Sessions
Special to MLB.com |
ARLINGTON -- For just a moment in the eighth inning of the Mariners' 10-2 rout over the Rangers on Tuesday night, it looked like things might get uglier than the score.
After Texas reliever Tom Wilhelmsen plunked Seattle catcher Chris Iannetta in the thigh with the first pitch following Seth Smith's second-deck homer, Iannetta yelled at the former Mariners pitcher on his way to first and caused players on both teams to "converge," to use Rangers manager Jeff Banister's euphemism. The Rangers' infielders all took steps toward the mound, and a few Mariners players walked out of the dugout onto the warning track.
"I saw all my guys converging, I came out to make sure to keep all my guys in check," Banister said. "That's why I came out."
Then, just as quickly, it seemed like the managers were converging, too. Banister was pointing and hollering in the direction of Mariners skipper Scott Servais, who was returning verbal fire.
"Emotions got high," Banister said. "That's about all I can say. … I'm not going to get into talking about that situation."
Servais was equally coy about the situation when asked about it after the game.
"It's baseball -- we'll leave it at that," Servais said. "We're going to play Texas a lot this year."
Wilhelmsen, who had spent all five of his previous Major League seasons with the Mariners, had also allowed a tape-measure homer to Robinson Cano and doubles to Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in the eighth inning, in which all five hitters he faced scored. After Wilhelmsen hit Iannetta, the Seattle catcher reacted angrily, yelling in Wilhelmsen's direction, and plate umpire Marvin Hudson hurried to get between the two.
Only Wilhelmsen was ejected. His replacement, Andrew Faulkner, allowed a two-run homer to the next batter, Luis Sardinas, to close the book on Wilhelmsen's unfortunate Rangers debut.
"It looks like they had a pretty good idea of what I had, and they went about it pretty good," Wilhelmsen said. "But on the other hand, my job is to back them off and not make them feel too comfortable like they were feeling. Ugly. Embarrassed. They were just ready for first-pitch fastballs."
Asked whether Iannetta was annoyed with something in particular, Wilhelmsen deadpanned, "Probably the fact that I hit him."
And Iannetta, in his first season with Seattle, also took the high road after the game, saying, "That's just part of the game, you know?"
The Rangers traded center fielder Leonys Martin for Wilhelmsen last November.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.