By Scott Merkin and Cody Stavenhagen
MLB.com |@scottmerkin |
CHICAGO -- Both benches and bullpens cleared Friday night after Jose Abreu was hit by a Trevor May fastball with one out in the eighth inning of the White Sox 10-4 victory over the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.
May hit Abreu in the rib cage with a 97-mph fastball after Byung Ho Park was hit by Sox right-hander Nate Jones with 96-mph heater in the top of the eighth. Abreu made his unhappiness known to May and the teams met briefly near first base before order was quickly restored, with Twins infielder Eduardo Nunez seemingly calming down Abreu. No punches were thrown and no players were ejected.
Minnesota manager Paul Molitor claimed no intent on the pitch to Abreu and said May was simply pitching Abreu inside, especially after the Sox slugger had homered off Twins starter Ricky Nolasco on a slider away leading off the third.
"Just tried to get in there, and that's all she wrote," May said. "He chose to react the way he wanted to react, and I just wanted the ball back. I just wanted a new ball and to move on."
"Benches get heightened immediately when that happens," Molitor said. "There was some shouting across the field, and that led to people pouring out there."
Abreu apologized to his organization for his actions after the game.
"I was out of character and it was something in the game," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox Spanish-language broadcaster Billy Russo. "I apologize to all the people with the White Sox."
A warning was issued to both clubs, which drew the ire of White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who argued with first-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller that May should have been ejected for hitting his player intentionally, while Park was hit accidentally. Ventura was ejected for the second time this season, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd and the support of his players in the postgame clubhouse.
"That showed me respect," Abreu said. "They respect me and I respect them, and especially Robin. Robin was there to defend me and it was good. I always say we are a family, and we showed today that we really are a family."
"It definitely becomes a reaction to something," Ventura said. "I felt that was, and especially with Pito [Abreu's nickname], you're always sensitive to that and you respond to that. It's a difference of opinion."
Park defended his teammates, as well, but through an interpreter had no comment as to whether Jones' pitch was intentional. The White Sox made their own statement standing behind their star.
"We're not going to back down or be afraid in that situation," Ventura said. "You back the guy up. For me, there was intent there."
"If he does step out there like that, then we're all going to be there," White Sox shortstop Tyler Saladino said. "We're a team. That's what we do. It doesn't matter who it is. If something happens like that, you're there for the guys."