Benches cleared in the eighth inning of Friday’s Game 5 of the ALCS after Houston Astros reliever Bryan Abreu hit Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis García with a pitch.
García, who admired his three-run homer in his previous at-bat, tried to get at Astros catcher Martín Maldonado immediately after taking a 99-mph fastball to the arm. Both benches and bullpens quickly converged on home plate, but neither side appeared to throw a punch.
García gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead a few innings earlier when he hit his homer off Astros starter Justin Verlander. After belting the blast, the 30-year-old spiked his bat to the ground and ended his trot by emphatically stepping on home plate.
Once the dust settled, García, Abreu, and Astros manager Dusty Baker were ejected. The ejection riled up the usually stoic Baker, with the manager throwing his cap to the ground while pleading with umpires. He continued arguing in the dugout for several minutes before finally retreating to the clubhouse.
Baker said postgame that he sympathized with García’s anger but was adamant that Abreu didn’t intentionally throw at him.
“I can understand how (Garcia) would take exception to that. Nobody likes to get hit. But you’re not going to add runs on in the ninth inning in the playoffs when we’re trying to win a game. How do you prove intent? That’s what I don’t understand.”
Rangers skipper Bruce Bochy said he wasn’t sure about Abreu’s intentions and appeared more upset about how long it took umpires to resume the game after order was restored.
“Who knows,” he said when asked if he felt the HBP was intentional, per Bally Sports Southwest. “I mean, (the) guy hits a three-run homer, (and) next time up he gets smoked there. … I’d be upset too if I was Doli.”
Travis Jankowski ran the basepath for García and remained in the game to play right field. Ryan Pressly took over on the mound for Houston and got out of the inning without allowing a run, setting the stage for Jose Altuve’s go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth. Pressly shut down Texas in the bottom of the inning to close out a 5-4 Astros win, giving Houston a 3-2 lead in the ALCS.
“The worst thing (García) did was wake up the Houston Astros,” Maldonado told Fox Sports postgame.
The in-state rivals had a benches-clearing incident in Houston in July. Both teams exchanged HBPs during that contest, and the fracas also involved a confrontation between García and Maldonado following a García homer.