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Joe Maddon: A ‘weak, cowardly effort’ on the Sox’s part

05.26.12 at 12:12 am ET
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Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena and Luke Scott get into it with Red Sox coach Tim Bogar. (AP)

Rays manager Joe Maddon said after Friday night’s bench-clearing altercation that the whole situation was brought about by the Red Sox.

Tempers flared in the top half of the ninth inning at Fenway Park on Friday night with the Rays leading a 7-4 ballgame. The benches cleared after designated hitter Luke Scott was hit by a Franklin Morales pitch in the leg, after what seemed like multiple attempts by Morales to run one in on Scott.

“By the way their players reacted to the entire situation, I knew it did not come from them,” Maddon said. “It’s kind of incompetent behavior; it’s the kind of behavior that gets people hurt, and gets hurt on your own side by choosing to do something so ridiculous.”

Last week, Sox first baseman/right fielder Adrian Gonzalez was hit by a pitch in Tampa, and earlier in tonight’s game Dustin Pedroia took a shot to the back from Burke Badenhop. Maddon said that Pedroia getting hit was not intentional whatsoever, because his team did not want David Ortiz coming up to bat with two men on base.

“That’s truly somebody flexing their muscles on the other side that really needs to put them in their back pocket, and understand that they can hurt their own team by doing something like that,” he said.

Morales’ first pitch to Scott with two out in the top of the ninth inning was thrown behind Scott’s back. The next few pitches were up and in, but didn’t garner any attention as intentional. The fourth pitch caught Scott in the leg, and he strode out in Morales’ direction but was met by Jarrod Saltalamacchia first. The benches and bullpens proceeded to clear out onto the field.

The first pitch thrown to Scott by Morales “reeked of intent,” as Maddon put it.

“I think [intentionally hitting batters] is ridiculous, and I think it’s absurd, it’s idiotic; I’ll use all those different words,” Maddon said.

Rays first baseman Carlos Pena was in the thick of the incident, and appeared to get into a yelling match with Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure. Pena said that when you’re in the heat of the entire situation, things just happen.

“We stand by each other and support each other, and I thought the play was dirty, so we were all there for him,” Pena said. “They’re standing for what they believe in and we stand for what we believe in, and that’s fine. It’s just baseball, that’s the way it goes. Sometimes things get a little bit out of control just because all of us are so competitive out there.”

After things quieted down and both teams retreated respectively to their dugouts, Rays outfielder B.J. Upton was spotted outside of his dugout yelling with a handful of fans behind the camera ditch. Upton said that someone said something that “definitely was not suitable for TV,” and he took offense to it.

“Sometimes [fans] can cross the line. I felt like he did, so I kind of lost my cool,” Upton said about the incident. “…It’s tough for me to get there, but he sent me there tonight.”

In terms of the motive behind hitting Scott, Upton said that he didn’t know what the thinking was behind it, but everyone had each other’s backs and they’ll try to put it in the past.

Earlier in the season, Scott made comments about Fenway Park and the team that upset Red Sox nation, but Maddon didn’t think that those factors played into the decision to hit the Rays DH. But Maddon was adamant to pronounce that the intent did not initiate from the Rays side of the field.

“Trust me, it’s not us,” Maddon said. “I have no idea on their side, … obviously they’re the ones that were probably behind the effort. The really weak, cowardly effort on their part.”

Looking ahead to the next few games, neither Maddon nor the players expect to see any physical outbursts, and especially no retaliation from the Tampa Bay side.

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