NEW YORK -- Nationals outfielder Willie Harris and Mets right-hander Francisco Rodriguez were involved in a heated exchange late in the Nationals' 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.
In the ninth inning, Rodriguez hit Harris with a pitch. As Harris jogged to first base, Rodriguez yelled at Harris, while both benches emptied. Ordered was soon restored, however.
Harris believed Rodriguez was mad at him because the latter thought Harris was talking to him. The truth was, according to Harris, he was in pain and yelled at no one in particular.
"I don't think he hit me on purpose. It's part of the game," Harris said. "I think the ball just got away from him. I don't remember saying anything to him. I got hit and I said some ... words, but they were not directed towards him. It hurt. And he may have thought that I was talking to him. He said something to me. Now I said something back to him."
"If you are going to chirp, just go ahead and fight. I'm not with all the talking. I didn't direct anything toward him."
Rodriguez did, in fact, feel Harris was talking to him. Rodriguez claimed that Harris was looking at him while using foul language.
"He was upset," Rodriguez said. "The hitters don't really want to get hit, and he said something. I took it in a bad way, and you guys saw what happened after that. If he said that in frustration and he goes to first base without looking at me the way he did, I might grab the ball and go back to the mound."
"But the way he reacted, and the way that he stared at me, I didn't like it. When you're in that situation, you pretty much snap and you're angry -- you don't think. You just react in that situation. That's what I did."
Both teams were given warnings by home-plate umpire Jim Joyce.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.