OAKLAND -- Astros starter Mike Fiers admitted his emotions got the best of him in the fourth inning of Monday's 7-4 loss to the A's at the Coliseum. The inning unraveled quickly on Fiers and led to dugout tiffs between Fiers and manager A.J. Hinch, then Fiers and outfielder Carlos Gomez.
After the game, everyone involved echoed the same tone, saying the highly charged emotions are proof how much the Astros care and they'll emerge stronger because of it. Fiers was one strike away from pitching a 1-2-3 fourth inning before he allowed the next five batters to reach, and all of them scored.
Fiers appeared to have words with Hinch on the mound, and it carried over to the dugout, where pitcher Doug Fister pushed Fiers away from the manager. At the end of the inning, Carlos Gomez -- Fiers' teammate in Milwaukee who was traded with him to Houston a year ago -- and Fiers had to be separated, again by Fister.
Television cameras later showed Fiers and Hinch having calmer conversations in the dugout during the next inning, and All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve had some words for Fiers as well.
"Being a competitive person out there, I want to stay in the game as long as I can," said Fiers, who allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings. "A.J.'s got to do his job and I wasn't doing my job. He had to take me out and I'm never going to be happy with being taken out of a game, so we had a couple of words here and there and we smoothed it over. That's just how it is in a competitive game. Everyone wants to win so bad, sometimes it gets out of hand, but like I said, it's over, we're done with it and we're going to move on and play tomorrow."
Hinch downplayed the incident and said his "tight-knit" team will be fine.
"It's an emotional game," he said. "It's played by humans. I've never seen a pitcher happy to come out of a game, but the best interest of the 25 is always going to override the best interest of one. But it is what it is. It's a family environment and we keep a lot of things internal, and we'll deal with it internally. It's all competitive emotions that come out. It's an emotional game no matter what anybody tells you."
Fiers said Gomez told him he should have handled his issues with Hinch in the clubhouse -- and away from the TV cameras. Gomez said he cares about Fiers and his run-in with him was a matter of boys being boys.
"What do you expect when you're with 25 men for 190 days, every day?" he said. "Sometimes, when you're brothers, you have issues. It does not mean you don't love your brother. You love your brother. You have sometimes strong conversation. That's what happened. The thing is it makes you stronger, it makes more love. It's not like we're going to try to kill each other. You have some conversation and show we care and we're going to prove we're in the same boat. It's a tough game today."
Fiers called Gomez one of the leaders of the team and admitted his emotions got the best of him.
"I need to be more professional about what I'm doing out there on the field and when I'm coming out of the game," he said. "It is what it is. Me and A.J., it's fine. We're competitive people. He's got to do his job and I've got to do mine to stay in the game."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.